My little brother, Jim, once won a blue ribbon at a summer science fair. He played a pretaped screech of the opening of our old refrigerator door, causing Franklin, his pet hamster to do double time on his hamster wheel, thinking some iceberg lettuce was coming his way. Jim proved Pavlov right, and inadvertently predicted some later family food issues. Nonetheless we were proud of him.
The summer of 2012 was one of the biggest science fairs ever.
When the physicists at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson, it was 3 a.m. in the Brown University Physics lab. My friend, the I.T. go-to-gal there, said they had a champagne fueled all-nighter to honor the discovery of the Higgs field and the long work of one of their own labmates, a particle physicist who had worked on the boson for fifty years.
The confirmation of the discovery will help particle physicists understand the basic building blocks of matter, and could open up a "new" physics beyond current theories.
It was another early morning when the NASA landed their third payload on Mars. The Curiosity, twice as long and five times as heavy as the two previous payloads, successfully completed the seven minutes of terror descent into the Martian atmosphere and nailed its landing in the Gale Crater. The scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab also popped some late night corks and rightly saluted their accomplishment.
What a pleasure to celebrate the achievements of real physicists and engineers!
The current state of anti-science is fact-free-and-proud, rife with assertions from the schvitzing climate change deniers, the we-only-go-back-4,000- years Creationist Theme park rangers, and the because-I-said-so social scientists.