A Small Contribution to a Large Project

That evening, at a café near the work site, I had a drink with an iter physicist, who was despondent, fearing that the machine would never work. Why he was staying with the project he couldn’t say. But a few weeks later, after thinking about it, he told me that his mood had lifted. He had come to see his role in both small and sublime terms—akin to a stonemason toiling for years on the York Minster cathedral (begun 1220, finished 1472) without witnessing the work being completed. “I now expect to devote my full professional career before seeing a decent plasma in iter,” he said. “This does not bug me. There have been many scientists before me, working for this same goal, who will not see this. Martin Luther King had a dream fifty years ago. He did not live long enough to see that dream realized. But, thanks to him, we have made wonderful strides in helping his dream be fulfilled. The scientists working on iter have a dream that could be as powerful as Martin Luther King’s—not for human equality but for energy independence. We won’t see this dream realized. But each day I go to work I have a hidden smile knowing that I am helping us get one day closer to our iter dream.”


What's it like to be a single individual working on a project that takes many lifetimes? Perspective.

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York Minster (0.914045): geo | website | dbpedia | freebase | yago
1990s music groups (0.775761): dbpedia
People celebrated in the Lutheran liturgical calendar (0.648158): dbpedia
Martin Luther King, Jr. (0.613004): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
1980s music groups (0.605603): dbpedia

 A Star in a Bottle
Periodicals>Magazine Article:  Khatchadourian, Raffi (March 3, 2014), A Star in a Bottle, The New Yorker, Retrieved on 2014-02-25
  • Source Material [www.newyorker.com]
  • Folksonomies: science history fusion public policy