WASHINGTON, DC—Top physicists from several major American universities appeared before a Congressional committee Monday to request $50 billion for a science thing that would further U.S. advancement science-wise and broaden human knowing.
The scientists spoke for approximately three hours about the complicated science machine, which is expensive, and large, telling members of the House Committee on Science and Technology that the tubular, gamma-ray-using mechanism is vital in some big way. Yet the high price tag of the thing, which would be built on a 40-square-mile plot of land where the science would ultimately occur, remained a pressing question.
"While expense is something to consider, I think it's very important that we have this kind of scientific apparatus, because, in the end, I have always said that science is more important than it is unimportant," Committee chairman Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) said. "And it's essential we stay ahead of China, Japan, and Germany in science. We are ahead in space, with the NASA rockets going to other planets, so we should be ahead in science too."
According to the scientists, the electromagnetic science-maker will make atoms move and spin around very quickly, though spectators at the hearing said afterward they could not account for how one could get some atoms to move around faster than other ones if everything is made of atoms anyway. In addition, the scientists said that the device would be several miles in circumference, which puzzled onlookers who had long assumed that atoms were tiny. Despite these apparent inconsistencies, the scientists, in Rep. Gordon's words, appeared "very smart-sounding" and confident that their big spinner would solve some kind of problem they described.
The highlight of the scientists' testimony was a series of several colorful diagrams of how the big machine would work. One consisted of colored dots resembling Skittles banging into one another. Noting the motion lines behind the circle-ball things, committee members surmised that they were slamming together in a "fast, forceful manner." Yet some expressed doubts as to whether they justified the $50 billion price tag.
"These scientists could trim $10 million if they would just cut out some of the purple and blue spheres," said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), explaining that he understood the need for an abundance of reds and greens. "With all of those molecules and atoms going in every direction, the whole thing looks a bit unorganized, especially for science."
Another diagram presented to lawmakers contained several important squiggly lines, numbers, and letters. Despite not being numbers, the letters were reportedly meant to represent mathematics too. The scientists seemed to believe that correct math was what would help make the science thing go.
The scientists concluded their presentation by informing the committee that, if constructed correctly, the super science-flyer would be able to answer questions about many, many things, mainly stuff about the universe that sounded like it would be very good to know about.
"Now, I'm no science major, but if I'm being told by a group of people that the protons, neutrons, and electrons need unifying, then I think we owe it to the American people to go in and unify them," Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) said. "After all, isn't a message of unity what we want to send to our children?"
Still, some committee members were not as convinced, saying that the building of a micro-macro isotope-making science generator should not be a top priority.
"Fifty billion dollars to buy atoms is too much," Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) said. "Frankly, I don't understand why they don't just gather up all the leftover atoms in their test tubes and Bunsen burners. I think the scientists should have to use those up before getting new ones."
The scientists remained hopeful that their federal funding will be approved.
"The congressmen appeared receptive to what we were saying, and I think that we made a very convincing case as to why we need a [science gadget] of this magnitude on American soil," said Caltech physicist David Kaminski, who added various other scientific information. "[Some complicated physics-related act] would be possible in our lifetime only through the creation of a [science thing]."