Sounding off on Economic Constraints in Experimentation

I mean most understand that the economic spending “is the choice” as to whether an area of research will be continued to be funded or not, according to the direction that research council choose. Limited resources according to the times? This is not a reflection of the absurdity of going in a certain direction, but one of where the money is to allocated from a scientific endeavor and standpoint.

Finally, tantalisingly, the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) released the results of its latest (and final) effort to search for the Dark Matter that seems to make up most of the matter in the Universe, but doesn’t seem to be the same stuff as the normal atoms that we’re made of. Under some theories, the dark matter would interact weakly with normal matter, and in such a way that it could possibly be distinguished from all the possible sources of background. These experiments are therefore done deep underground — to shield from cosmic rays which stream through us all the time — and with the cleanest and purest possible materials — to avoid contamination with both both naturally-occurring radioactivity and the man-made kind which has plagued us since the late 1940s.See:Doctors, Deep Fields and Dark Matter (Bold added for emphasis by me)



Observational studies of the rotation of galaxies and groups of galaxies strongly suggest the existence of a dominating amount of matter invisible at any electromagnetic wavelengths. One of the favoured forms of this “missing mass”, both theoretically and observationally, is the WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particle). These cold WIMPs are expected to be scattered by the nuclei of typical detector material at a rate of less than one per kg per day, yielding energy depositions in the 1-50 keV energy range.

ZEPLIN-III is a two-phase (liquid/gas) xenon detector looking for galactic WIMP dark matter at the Boulby Underground Laboratory, North Yorkshire, UK, at a depth of 1100 m. At this depth the cosmic-ray background is reduced by a factor of a million. The WIMP target consists of 12 kg of cold liquid xenon topped by a thin layer of xenon gas. These are viewed by an array of 31 photomultiplier tubes immersed in the liquid.

The detector operates at higher electric fields than other, similar systems, namely its predecessor ZEPLIN-II, and provides high-precision reconstruction of the interaction point in three dimensions. Together with the low-background construction (mainly high-purity copper), these features will give ZEPLIN-III higher sensitivity in direct WIMP searches.

The ZEPLIN-III Collaboration includes the University of Edinburgh, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Imperial College London, LIP-Coimbra (Portugal) and ITEP-Moscow (Russia).


Photomultiplier array covered by electrode grid 

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10 Responses to Sounding off on Economic Constraints in Experimentation

  1. I like the title of this blarticle, but I'm not really sure what you're trying to say Plato in your opening paragraph before you list the experiments.Are you trying to emphasize the "Man-made" radioactivity in your emphasized section of the Minnesota test, or funding for experimentation in general? What?

  2. Plato says:

    Hi Steven,Just got back with my wife from visiting and having Christmas with two of my daughters and their husbands along with 5 of my eight grandchildren.The article is just an extension of what is going on across the pond along the same lines as occurring in Minnesota.By keeping track on what is going on, I learn much about where the research is going etc.All the best to you and yours.Best,

  3. All the best and you and yours as well, Plato, and congrats on being a grandfather. I'm 53 and have 4 kids and zero grandkids at the moment. Looking forward to having the grandbabies someday though. My kids are 20, 19, 16, and 14 years old. Yours?Sorry to take so long to reply, but as you're well aware December is all about Family, which is my greatest motto: "Family first." Wouldn't have it any other way.I have a request, Plato, but before I do so here is this Mechanical Engineer's hopefully concise take on the very important question this blarticle (blog article) asks:We, Humanity (or perhaps I'm being too harsh and should just say "Americans"), have culturally lost all respect for our finest minds, and by that I mean REAL Philosophers (such as yourself and Phil Warnell), Mathematicians, and Physicists.I'm not sure where the disrespect began. Perhaps it is hardwired into our species, but one big moment, two actually, that the "public" draw on is Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A shame really, as the users of French Nuclear Power will attest.And yes, the Public's view is QUITE important. They elect the Politicians, who then decide the budgets. All I can say on that is, thank goodness for rich individuals like Richard Branson and Mike Lazaridis and the late Louis Bamberger. Thank goodness SOME of them (and too few of same) know what's really important to help and save our species. We'd be dead without them, were we to rely on government alone to solve our problems, eh? And now, a simple request, Plato the Blogger of Dialogos of Eide fame:Please click on the following link …… and comment. Your wisdom is always appreciated, thanks. Grandpa. ;-)The title of that latest blarticle is "Philosophers Wanted: Long Hours, Low Pay, Important Work."It's the first blarticle of mine that I'm actually recruiting comment on.

  4. Plato says:

    Hi Steven,Steven: My kids are 20, 19, 16, and 14 years old. Yours?My kids are 33, 31 and 30 this year.I am a year younger then you.:)I did look at your post and was intrigued by the comment on the fourth dimension. Why I included my take on the idea of a toposense, and this relationship between the world and ourselves.Of course I knew of the Friedmann equation , and of course I always like to follow up with experimental methods currently used in science such as LIGO or Grace satellite to help one appreciate how "ugly the world can look" when you see the earth in this "gravitational way." The general theory of relativity is as yet incomplete insofar as it has been able to apply the general principle of relativity satisfactorily only to gravitational fields, but not to the total field. We do not yet know with certainty by what mathematical mechanism the total field in space is to be described and what the general invariant laws are to which this total field is subject. One thing, however, seems certain: namely, that the general principal of relativity will prove a necessary and effective tool for the solution of the problem for the total field.Out of My Later Years, Pg 48, Albert EinsteinSee also:Defining the Space your Living In I have been thinking about your post and will take sometime to respond more at your place along side of Andrew. For now I am off to work.Best,

  5. Wow, you started young! That's great, think how long your grandkids will know you! My best friend at age 13 started young (first child at age 19) and so did his daughter. He became a grandpa at 39, the same year my last son was born. What a rich life you must lead. I don't see how you have time for any blog, let alone this rich one. Good on ya.Btw, how do you get blogsplot to list recent comments on blogs? Is it a gadget? Thanks for your comment at my blog, I will respond in the next few days.

  6. Plato says:

    Hi Steven,Yes my wife and I were 19 when we had our first child. Both in the armed forces. I left through a honorable discharge and she followed.Yes our grandchildren are like a second chance reliving with the innocence of youth.In your layout look to add a script or html. You can call this comments or whatever.Try this and if it doesn't work you need a feed Best,

  7. You were both military? Cool. What branch? One uncle and one grandfather were US Army and my dad was US Navy. I applied to Air Force Academy and West Point in high school (was accepted by West Point) but turned them down because I didn't like the idea of having to give them four years of my life after college. Big mistake on my part. Also, Vietnam was going down and while I had no problem serving in wartime, not THAT war. In any event I am very military-minded (strategy and tactics) and love to discuss that stuff if you're interested. The Business world, and the politics of Academia, seems to have much of that stuff, apparently.Anyway, thanks for the tips re my problem, by hook or by crook I got something going on my nascent blog.

  8. Plato says:

    Hi Steven,Glad to see you got that fixed up.I was 17 when they took me in. Did my basic training and then off to Military Police school. I did my training with a British Officer and his Canadian counterpart.My wife, unbeknownst to me came when I was about finishing that basic training. We met up later at her and my posting.It was at a nuclear base where we were team up with you Americans. As Phil might have mentioned I am Canadian. This was a training that would eventually put me in embassies, as some of my mates did. I did not think the misses and I would fair well under such duty bound.Oh she was a supply technician for aircraft parts.It's one of those things that as I had seen the war in Vietnam also thought as a Canadian I should go, but fortunately as I look back, I have to shake my head as to what I was thinking. Steven:In any event I am very military-minded (strategy and tactics) and love to discuss that stuff if you're interested. The Business world, and the politics of Academia, seems to have much of that stuff, apparently.I am not sure what I could contribute to such a discussion. Although this is all I had ever dream about from very early on. I now look at life very much different. I fear very much for all our sons and daughters who put themselves in harms way.Talk to you later as I just came off my shift.Best,

  9. I love Canada very much. Thanks for Mike Myers. You can have William Shatner back any time. :-)When I was 14 in the summer of 1971, I spent a great week in Canada with the Explorer Scouts. Our post leader was Ortelio Fernandez, a Cuban whose family relocated to Canada following Castro's revolution in '59, and was also our New Jersey high school's Vice-Principle. His nickname was "Beaver." 🙂 We had a grand week. Camping out in a friend of Beaver's backyard in Hemmingford, Quebec, we went to Montreal every day (I mostly remember Expo '67, which is still is operation, yes? The big escalator in the golf-ball like USA Pavilion, etc. …) We also went to Ottawa one day, and sat in the observers' gallery while the Canadian Parliament was in session. A very clean city. Never been to Toronto, would love to go just for the C-N Tower! And the Perimeter Institute, of course. I worked with a well-traveled man who said Toronto is North America's most beautiful city. True? My wife has been to Banff, Alberta, by Lake Louise at a Science conference, where The Rocky Mountains get quite serious. They were delayed leaving their hotel one morning until some local Grizzly Bears moved on. Awesome. I haven't been back since 1971, the closest was a week's vacation at Lake George, NY, and watching the Brando/DeNiro/Norton flick: "The Score." My English ancestor's were Tories during the American Revolution, for the most part. They didn't want to break from England. They were tempted to move to Canada after the war, but they had a great oyster business going on the south shore of Long Island, so they stayed. But many didn't. One Hundred Thousand Americans, a significant part of the new country, left for Canada, forming what I read was the backbone of Euro-Canadians. Any American ancestors, Plato? I hear what you say and understand what you mean about looking at life differently with age. Parenthood alone changes one's views, indeed possibly more than anything. A good sci-si novel along these lines is "Protector" by Larry Niven. Well, that's it. I found my life's passion 2 days ago (as one must stop generalizing sooner or later, and take the plunge of specialization … alas). I can't thank you and Phil Warnell enough for opening my eyes to the importance of Philosophy (REAL not POP Philosophy) in Physics, and indeed, in Mathematics as well. As an Engineer, I didn't think it was important, but you and Phil changed that view. Good going, thanks, and Cheers, mate! Wonderful website you have here. Continued good luck with it. Ciao.

  10. Plato says:

    Hi Steven, Any American ancestors, Plato?Not on my side, but definitely on my wife's. Mine are from what is called Austria now, who came to Canada around the beginning of the 1900's and were farmers. I came from a family of 11 and both my parents came from families of equal size.My wife and I will be doing some more travelling across the United States in the coming years as we just bought a fifth wheel and a newer truck to haul it.We have made a few trips including one down to Arizona and across the northern part of the states. Took 3 of our grandchildren to disney land by traveling the west coast. Some comments by Phil.More wildlife pictures here.Steven:Well, that's it. I found my life's passion 2 days ago (as one must stop generalizing sooner or later, and take the plunge of specialization … alas) Nonlinear Dynamics? Yes when it comes to study one has to get serious and at the same time keep it fun. Enjoyed talking to you.I'll be here.Best,

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