Feedback is nice

Especially feedback that says “get over it, man!”  Nate wants to start a dialogue.  I’ll respond in my next post.  Meanwhile, anyone else want to chime in?

I just finished watching your film The Atom Smashers.  Neat flick.  I don’t want to write a review to you of your own documentary or anything, but after the movie, I went out onto that big old internet and found a blogspot of the same name.  I felt compelled to write because of the last post on this blog.  It seems to carry the same attitude as the one in your film. It actually makes me feel a little better about science and American scientists.  I’m now hoping that the somber attitude that is portrayed in the film is your own creation and not an objective observation of Fermilab scientists.  I’m writing to you to because I’d like to begin a dialogue about science Nationally and Globally, and maybe to change your mind about progress at CERN and the LHC.

I can see that you have a lot of pride in Fermilab and the Tevatron.  It looks like you grew up in the midwest (I’m a KC native myself) and are now living and teaching in Chicago, its reasonable that you’d feel attached to the lab on a local level.  In addition, it sounds like during the filming of your documentary, you really got to know the lab and its scientists.  If I may put it bluntly — Get over it man!  I, like most that you’re clearly referencing in your blog title, am very excited about what is happening at CERN.  So what if it isn’t happening in your back yard?  Maybe as a member of a younger generation I just see things more globally.  I’ve been reading up on wikipedia articles about the facility and the science, and I’ve been participating in global online forums about it.  I’ve been considering if I should go back to school and become a graduate student in particle physics.  Its exciting! Yes, I’m disappointed in our government’s unwillingness to spend our tax dollars on science, but I’ve never been one to count on governments to do what I want anyway.  I feel like you and others are sad to see the scientists leave our country as if they are leaving science for good.  I’m not saying that I wouldn’t like to see more of our tax dollars spent on science.  I feel the same pride you do for the history science had in America, and for what remains of it. I’m just saying I don’t really care where the information comes from, its still exciting.

So after arguing with myself for a couple sentences, I guess this is what I want to get across to you:  Keep doing what you’re doing.  Shed light on science in America, and continue to try to get support for it in your way.  I would love so much for us to become a science and technology power again.  But don’t let the current trends or the current state of things ruin the excitement.  Let go of your pride, but hope that it will be justified again in the future, and continue to support science wherever it occurs.

Like I said, I’d like to start a dialogue, because I’m not sure how interesting I am on my own.  I can tell you’re interested in science in America, and I am as well. For starters, why was there no mention in your movie of the SSC that was going to be built outside of Houston?  That seems like a failure of American support for science. Or am I missing the point of your film?  No rush however.  Its a busy time of year. Have a Merry Christmas and if you’d like, get back to me when you can.

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~ by claytonbrown2 on January 2, 2010.

3 Responses to “Feedback is nice”

  1. Nice looking site, Jeff. That picture of the van on the previous blog – doesn’t it have a new paint job? Pretty sharp.

    Whoever it was that wrote that reply under the heading “Feedback is Nice” seems to be a pickle short of a barrel. The comment “Let go of your pride” was totally unjustified and uncalled for. The comment “I would love so much for us to become a science and technology power again.” We still are!!! Never lost it. How could there be a meaningful dialogue with one who thinks like that?

  2. Oh, I disagree, Bill. I think Nate has some really good points. And while I agree that the US is still a leader technologically and scientifically, we’re walking a fine line. Our scientific literacy among students is perhaps the lowest among first-world nations. According to a 2005 NYT article, “American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.”

    Wow. 20% of us believe the sun revolves around the Earth?? Add to that how many school boards want Intelligent Design to be taught in the classroom, and there’s plenty of reason to be concerned about our position as a scientific leader… I think there’s lots of room for dialogue!

  3. Yes, it is scary to realize the decline in what Americans know about science nowadays. And science is not the only thing we Americans are losing awareness of. The dumbing down of America is to me the greatest threat faced by our society and our country as a whole. But we haven’t totally lost it yet. As you say, we’re walking a fine line.

    So, is that a new paint job on the van?

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