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Note To Wall Street: 1,000 Physicists For Hire

Going out of business.

The U.S. government is cutting off funding for the Tevatron, a giant particle collider in Illinois. (The Europeans built a bigger collider in Switzerland.)

More than 1,000 physicists work at the facility. In a letter to the editor in the NYT, a pair of researchers pointed out one possible unintended consequence of the shutdown:

...When, in 1993, Congress shut off funds for the superconducting supercollider being built underground in Texas, many of the newly unemployed physicists found jobs on Wall Street. Wouldn't you rather have the nation's physicists smashing protons than designing and smashing collateralized debt obligations?

Side note:Planet Money's own David Kestenbaum did his physics PhD research at the Tevatron. You may be familiar with his work: "Observation of t tbar Production using a Soft Lepton b Tag in pbar p Collisions at 1.8 TeV."

Hat tip: Business Insider

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Jacob Goldstein is an NPR correspondent and co-host of the Planet Money podcast. He is the author of the book Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing.