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Science news of 2007: top-ten lists, International Linear Collider in Russia, etc. January 3, 2008

Posted by apetrov in Particle Physics, Physics, Science.

So, what happened in 2007? According to popular and not-so-popular media, many things. Of course, it is customary for the popular press to form “the greatest discoveries of 2007” in the form of “top-10 lists” (I wonder what criteria are used to order those lists – leave alone what puts those discoveries “on the list”) – maybe we should all blame David Letterman for that. Anyway, it is curious to check out those lists: from Science (which is understandably a bit heavy on the life sciences’ side), Nature (which is actually a collection of articles published there), PhysicsWorld (they break it by month: it is sad that “the best of 2007” from the month of December is a category “US and UK physicists face funding cuts“), and from the APS service Physics News Update (which absolutely correctly puts MiniBoone’s results and top quark mass updates from FNAL among the top news). Even NPR’s Science Friday had a discussion of “most important events in 2007” (BTW, that was one of the worst shows they had: they ended up with a nonsense discussion of how US science is funded as a “piramid scheme” and why it brings in foreign postdocs — apparently, only because they can be paid less than US-trained postdocs, total BS).

For the Russian-speaking audience I can add a couple of more: this one and this one. I must say that the last one is a bit strange, as it puts quite a bit of emphasis on the Fermilab’s discovery of cascade-b baryon (lots of PR from Fermilab, I guess…) and the infamous paper by Garret Lisi. But it also talks about funding crisis in the US high energy physics (this counters Peter Woit’s statement that it received so little attention in the press. It is interesting that Time Magazine puts return of excessive earmarks under Democratically-controlled Congress as one of the top-ten underreported stories of 2007 (yet another top-ten list, oh well…) — which might be one of the reasons that HEP got such a funding cut.

Since I mentioned the Russian-language press, here is another thing I read there over my holiday break: Russia is considering to bid for a site of the International Linear Collider built nearby Dubna in Moscow Region. If you can read Russian, here is an interview with Dr. Alexei Sisakian, Director General of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Reasearch (JINR) in Dubna. The interview was conducted by Rossijskaya Gazeta (The Russian Newspaper). Also, here is an interview with JINR’s Chief Engineer G. Shirkov about preliminary studies of building the ILC in Dubna, along with some possible site maps. Maybe its nothing. But maybe not — oil is expensive nowdays and Russia has lots of it…



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