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Nobel Prize (Physics 1976) winner Burton Richter (March 22, 1931 – July 18, 2018) wrote in 2014;

When I was much younger I was a fan of science fiction books. I have never forgotten the start of one, though I don’t remember the name of the book or its author. It began by saying that high-energy physics’ and optical astronomy’s instruments had gotten so expensive that the fields were no longer funded.

To what book or story was Richter referring?

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    I assume you mean to be asking the question "What story was Richter remembering?" If so, better fix your question to make that clear before the off-topic police close it! – Mark Olson Feb 23 at 18:49
  • @MarkOlson - Or you could fix it yourself with edit? – Valorum Feb 23 at 19:37
  • Bruce Sterling's "The Dead Collider" seems to recent, at 1994, but was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (vadeker.net/articles/sterling/collider.txt) – FuzzyBoots Feb 23 at 20:25
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    @FuzzyBoots - He wrote the article in 2014 so a gap of 20 years might be sufficient for the author to mis-remember how long ago it was that he read a book) or he might just have meant "when I was 20 years younger" – Valorum Feb 23 at 20:48
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    @Moriarty Well, a story that begins as stated which was written before, say, 2000, would be a pretty strong likelihood. I've read a lot of SF and I don't recall anything that starts with this, so it's not likely to be a common trope. (Besides, I probably read the same physics blog that the OP read and wondered what the story was also -- I just didn't think of posting the question here.) – Mark Olson Feb 24 at 1:50
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This may be stretching things a bit, but Bruce Sterling wrote "The Dead Collider" for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in July of 1994, which was 25 years ago.

SCIENCE magazine, in its editorial post-mortem "The Lessons of the Super Collider," had its own morals to draw. Lesson One: "High energy physics has become too expensive to be defined by national boundaries." Lesson Two: "Just because particle physics asks questions about the fundamental structure of matter does not give it any greater claim on taxpayer dollars than solid-state physics or molecular biology. Proponents of any project must justify the costs in relation to the scientific and social return."

That may indeed be the New Reality for American science funding today, but it was never the justification of the Machine in the Desert. The Machine in the Desert was an absolute vision, about the absolute need to know.

However, there's no mention of astronomy in either that paper or the referenced Science article, "The Lessons of the Super Collider", and neither is actually science fiction.

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