Why Research Should Continue

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The development of MRI imaging technology is one useful spinoff of basic research into the structure of the atom. Research, however, is expensive. Many people argue that the high cost of research outweighs its potential benefits. Provide one argument for and one argument against increasing current funding for atomic-structure research. Use specific examples from this lesson in your answer to support each position.

One argument against continuing research on the atom is that the cost continues to increase at an alarming rate, and the benefits seem to be declining. Wheras quantum chemistry experiments as early as 80 years ago were very cheap and yielded considerable practical results, now very few if any practical results are emerging, but the costs of experiments continues to increase. For example, the Large Hadron Collider(LHC) was recently constructed for the sole purpose of studying the behavior of atoms under extreme conditions. The final cost of the LHC was somewhere around $9 BILLION, and has yielded no practical results, nor promises to do so in the future. Contrast this to 80 years ago, when the field of quantum chemistry was just emerging. The results provided during the early and mid 1900s such as the Schrödinger equation and Heisenberg uncertainty principle enable virtually everything chemistry related today. The fields of pharmaceutical chemistry and polymer science(plastics especially) would still be in their infancy if not for the work on quantum mechanics during this time. These major accomplishments were largely based on complex derivations and rarely had experiments that cost a significant sum.

A common argument for the continued research in atomic and subatomic structure is the desire for a greater understanding of the universe. As we study the interactions of very small particles, we can gain a better understanding of how they work together to ultimately create the world we live in. Also there is a practical goal of understanding subatomic...
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