• Question: How will your project help the future

    Asked by 1234 to Alice, Bose, Christian, Emma, Steve on 16 Mar 2016. This question was also asked by charlotte, EJH.13.
    • Photo: Benjamin Bose

      Benjamin Bose answered on 16 Mar 2016:

      Well it’s hard to say what direct effect my research will have on the future. A lot of very useful science started off as just a curiosity about very fundamental things and very far from anything practical.

      One of Einstein’s huge contributions to science may have started off with the simple investigation into what someone would see if they moved at the speed of light.

      I’m in no way saying my research will have a, let alone huge, contribution to the future, but the way science really works nowadays is a collaboration of people all pushing towards a deeper understanding of a phenomenon. Each little push helps in some way or another. What comes out of the collective push? New technology, new fundamental understanding of reality, new boundaries to be broken.

      My research in particular may help in understanding gravity better. If we understand it better then we are in a better position to use these laws, just like Einstein’s gravity is used in GPS 🙂

    • Photo: Steve Marsden

      Steve Marsden answered on 17 Mar 2016:

      I have no idea. That’s not to say that it won’t help, it’s just that right now we don’t know.

      This has been the case every time we’ve made steps forward in atomic physics, nuclear physics, particle physics. Every time we’ve pushed our knowledge to smaller and smaller aspects of the universe, we’ve developed new technology soon after.

      When the structure of the atom was first discovered, we had no idea that it would lead to MRI machines. When the electron was discovered, we had no idea that it would lead to modern computers. When antimatter was discovered, we didn’t know that it would lead to the PET scanner.

      A majority of the time when the frontier of physics has been pushed, it has been done so purely out of scientific curiosity. To only pursue fields of research which have clear implication would be misguided, as many of the tools we rely on today would never have come to be.

      We don’t know what advances will be made in the future due to the research we are performing. But if history is anything to go by, life in a century or so will be greatly improved because of it.