By Ed Duffy
Scientists recently announced that they may have discovered the elusive Higgs Boson. This is a critical element in solidifying the math/physics known as the Standard Model.
Who cares? Well, this particular discovery may actually have a significant impact on economics, technology, energy and therefore, you. Perhaps not next week, but the pace of discovery should quicken substantially if this is proved correct.
If the discovery of a Higgs Boson is conclusively decided this year and the physics behind it is widely accepted as fact, this could be an economic game changer for science and technology.
With nano technology flourishing, engineers and corporations now have an even more keen and vested interest in physics. New discoveries and reliable math could lead to billions of dollars worth of new products and improvements on old products. However, your shareholders would tar and feather you if you invested heavily in a premise or set of mathematics that was later proven invalid. It would be like investing heavily in Beta-Max just before everyone settled on the VCR, or buying MySpace just before Facebook hit its stride.
If there is a high level of confidence in the new findings, more private sector research dollars are going to be spent applying it and trying to figure out how to use it profitably. There's a long way to go of course. Knowing that something exists is a far cry from domesticating it. But the knowledge that you're not chasing ghosts is a powerful motivator to beating your competitors to invaluable new insights.
I've always liked the trend of engineers getting more involved in cutting edge science. They not only have the intellect to understand it, but, like cooks at a farmers market, they're always thinking "What can I make with that?".