• Question: If you had an infinite amount money what would you do with it for science?

    Asked by The_Real_Cortinz to Steve, Bose on 10 Mar 2016.
    • Photo: Steve Marsden

      Steve Marsden answered on 10 Mar 2016:

      That’s a really interesting question…

      A majority of big science isn’t performed by individuals, but by large collaborations. There are many of these large collaborations that are deserving of more funding. Most prominently I think ITER and Demo, two fusion reactor experiments, are very deserving of increased funding. The budget for this kind of research is often cut during construction, leading to major redesigns, and reducing the amount that can be learnt from the experiment. I’d want to inject capital into these in part because I really want to see fusion power made commercial in my lifetime.

      There are certainly some experiments I wouldn’t fund, or at least not fund in full. Not because they’re bad experiments, but because it’s really useful for governments to come together to fund them. For instance SESAME is a particle accelerator in Jordan, and is funded by Iran, Israel, Jordan and Turkey. These states aren’t famed for collaborating well together, but participating in joint scientific research ventures is a great way of improving the political climate.

    • Photo: Benjamin Bose

      Benjamin Bose answered on 11 Mar 2016:

      If I had an infinite amount of money I’d try to sort out the world’s problems first – which would involve a lot of science, as well as trying to end inequality and issues preventing people from caring about science.

      A lot of people in the world are busy trying to survive, if you granted them an easier life then they could care about the things that we do as scientists. There’s no greed in science, there’s just the thirst for progressing global knowledge and so in this sense it is completely altruistic. I’m naively hoping that money used wisely can satiate people’s need for more.

      Then once everyone is in a position to care about other things, I’d encourage everyone to be scientists in some capacity. A lot of money would go into promotion of science and opportunities for people to do it.