Here's a joke: A Higgs Boson walks into a Catholic Church, the Father says "Hey we don't allow Higgs Bosons in here" The boson replied "but without me how can you have mass?"
Confused? Well let me explain the joke above and why every Texan should care about a funny thing called a Higgs Boson. In physics, a Higgs Boson, sometimes called the "God particle," is a theoretical particle that provides mass to sub-atomic particles like neutrons, protons and electrons. Without the Higgs Boson there is no mass in the universe (get the joke now?). This past week physicist from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) supercollider on the border of Switzerland and France announced that they have enough evidence to suggest they have found this elusive particle. (Learn more here.)
This week we also learned that this discovery should have been made in Texas. (Learn more here.) Back in 1987, congress approved a plan to build a 4.4 billion dollar superconducting super collider in Texas. But in 1993 after investing 2 billion dollars and against the will of Governor Ann Richards and President Bill Clinton, the project was scrapped by congress. The US ceded our competitive edge in science and this week we saw the ultimate result of their choice.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said it in a tweet:
"On the day we reserve to tell ourselves America is great - July 4 - Europe reminds us that we suck at science. ‪#HiggsBoson‬"
No Texan should be satisfied by this news when that discovery could have been made here, and the United States should not be satisfied until we are leading the world in science. Rep. Lamar Smith has been in congress since 1987 in that same time we have seen investment in science and technology dwindle. America should be a leader in science and technology; investing in projects on the cutting edge of science ,like the Superconducting Supercollider, not letting our scientific advantage slip away.
It is time that Texas and the US invest in education, innovation and science, but the Republicans won't budge. Not only do they see no value in investing in science and innovation they do not believe in teaching critical thinking in schools, and are cutting funding to educational institutions from universities down to pre-schools. (Don't take my word for it, read about the Texas 2012 GOP platform here.)
In this environment I am left wondering "do the Republicans want the United States to be the global leader in innovation and technology or are they content to watch more technologic breakthroughs happen overseas?" The answer is in their inaction in congress and their unwillingness to invest in America; lets get congress working and investing in science again.