Mac Nachlas' letter suggests that the results of a recent European experiment not only raises entirely new doubt about
First, there has been at least one previous experiment (done at an American University, I believe in the 1920s or 1930s) which showed that it was possible for particles to exceed the speed of light. Yet physicists have continued to view the world as Einstein described it, just as they continue to view it to a great extent as Newton described it. Perhaps we need to await further developments before we take alarm at the recent experiment.
And I question that the U.S. as a society is investing less in basic research in proportion to its more mundane and perhaps more destructive research than other societies of comparable capacity. The originators of scientific discovery and the technology that such discovery produces are astonishingly cosmopolitan in the modern world. And the uses to which new knowledge is put by the U.S. are little different than in other societies. The starving North Koreans, with a GNP comparable to Arkansas, developed an atomic bomb, and the British lost a cruiser to the Argentine Navy and a cheap but neat little missile invented by the French allies.
But I fear all this reflects weakness, not in America's devotion to basic research, but in man's character, and that predates Einstein or Newton or Ptolemy. In