Northern Rock £25bn
The UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has decided to plug a gap in its finances by withdrawing from the Gemini telescope programme, the BBC reports. The Gemini South observatory The shock move, which will leave British astronomers unable to view the Northern Hemisphere sky with Gemini's 8.1m telescopes in …
The time has come as they would say down under in Oz and the Kiwi twin islands of the permanent white cloud "Let's whip around the hat boys and say bugger to the short sighted idiots and morons with their heads stuck up the nether end of their personal universes or words to that effect !"
what a great descision - not doubt taken by someone who's only knowledge of Gemini is the horoscope column... Sadly it seems that this is following the slide of education in the UK from subjects such as physics, Astrophysics, and other sciences, on which some of the most important discoveries have been based, to subjects like surf science and similar.
This decision will simply usher the current and upcoming astronomy talent away from the UK to other countries, who have their priorities in order.
We might have been better off taking £70m into a field and putting a match to it (not to mention the £7m get out fee!!). The public money wasted on Northern Rock would have done a long way to covering this cost - funny how the "cash strapped" government managed to lay it's hands on £55bn to fix a sinking bank, especially when we can't even equip our troops in the middle east properly.... thats another story.
The budget cutters say the saving is good because it is "...preserving the highest priority programmes and providing headroom to pursue the next generation of scientific opportunities..."
And as the last astronomer in the UK turns off the light and closes the door, with a suitcase in hand and bound for Canada or indeed any country where science is valued, where is the next generation of anybody or anything going to come from?
They keep banging on about how nobody is coming forward to teach Maths & Physics in schools these days but then turn around and cut scientific funding left, right and centre.
So what kind of impression does this give to kids just finishing school with their Maths / Physics / Chemistry / IT degrees? It tells them "Don't waste your time and brain on real science. Go work for a company that makes databases for accountants"
Most of this generations Einsteins and Hawkings are all bored silly working in IT. They may be reasonable well paid but they are bored out of their minds.
Canada is sounding more and more attractive.
The last paragraph about the "future projects" show how totally clueless the STFC is. Why do they think that anyone would want to cooperate with such an unreliable partner as the UK has shown itself to be? This stupidity has not only scuppered the Gemini participation, it has made any participation in whatever international science project impossible for a long time to come. The damage this has done to the UK science enterprise is totally out of proportion to the current shortfall in funding.
BAE, despite saying it would "try" to come in on budget, has said the current overspend is £500m. It is holding it's hand out for more and it will get it too.
I bet BAE would get 70M for telescopes if there was a military purpose for it.
It seems that Astronomy doesn't have any votes in it...
The best way to destroy a country without war is to dismantle its education system. This p[roject is part of our long established research astronomy effort and its loss apart from being stupid given the money we have spent already, insane because it is now coming of age is bloody embarrassing.
I would quite happily sack off the Olympics, the World Cup Bid and of course any number of goverment projects like ID cards to save this.
For the record i am not involved in any way with this project, in fact i am not a scientist just a regular wage slave who likes cool stuff like discovering things in space.
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