- First, finding the elusive Higgs boson, a mass-giving particle predicted to exist more than 40 years ago. The Higgs is supposed to explain why particles like electrons and quarks have the masses they have. Of course, we will still have to figure out how the Higgs got its mass, which makes one wonder how many layers there are to this onion.
- A second hoped-for discovery is the hypothetical supersymmetry, a symmetry that effectively doubles the number of particles that make up matter. Supersymmetry is also the foundation of the famed superstring theory (that's where the "super" in "superstring" comes from). So, it can provide indirect evidence for superstrings.
- A third expectation is the discovery of extra dimensions in space, which would be necessary to unify Nature into a single scheme, the so-called theory of everything. Superstrings, the leading candidate for this scheme, are supposed to inhabit no less than nine spatial dimensions.
The US dropped out of the race to uncover the deepest secrets of the universe. It wasn't willing to spend $10 billion on science, but it was more than happy to spend $1 trillion on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Do you think in 200 years these wars will even be mentioned in the history books? I don't. But I do suspect that the $10 billion investment will still be footnoted 200 years in the future.
The US abandoned the SSC in 1993 and that probably dates the start of the long decline of the US into banana republic status with leaders like Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, George Bush, and the other bozos who are shoved on stage by backstage billionaires who pull all the strings.