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Particles and polar bears – just the job


EVERY now and then, we’re regaled with news from the scientific world about particles – those sub-atomic squiggles that are the building blocks of life, the universe and everything.  

I remember in 2012 the discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle making global headlines. Along with almost everyone else, I had no idea what all those boffins were getting so excited about.   

I only knew it was very important and was achieved with the help of a cool bit of kit called the Large Hadron Collider, buried under the border between France and Switzerland.  

It now turns out that some scientists aren’t selflessly going particle-hunting just to increase the sum of human knowledge . . . instead, it’s a job creation scheme.  

Theoretical physicists are inventing particles for which there is no evidence, then spending their funding and grants looking for them – knowing full well there’s no hope of finding them. ‘It is wasting time and money,’ says Sabine Hossenfelder, who reveals the scam in the Guardian. 

As an avid consumer of TV popular science programmes, I’m disappointed to learn that those earnest god-like geeks who patiently explain quarks, quantums and suchlike to us thickos who watch the Discovery Channel are as tempted by easy lucre as we lesser beings.  

But while the particle purloiners have carved out a nice little earner for themselves, it’s slim pickings alongside the greatest job creation scheme of modern times . . . climate change.   

Just like those inventive physicists, proponents of man-made global warming have magicked up a scenario that may or may not be real, but is essentially unprovable. And they’ve turned it into a global mega-industry.    

Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people must now directly or indirectly be making a living out of climate change, from wind turbine builders to Thunberg-style pundits and doomsayers. The money just keeps on coming, not least from the public coffers of Britain, which has blithely and blindly signed up to Net Zero.   

Whether those involved in the industry actually believe in AGW is irrelevant – it’s gone way beyond that consideration and taken on a life of its own.  

I suppose that if you’re an obscure researcher toiling in a lab and the climate zealots come calling with a well-remunerated consultancy, it must be tempting to jump aboard the gravy train and leave any lingering doubts on the platform. And what small manufacturer could turn down a lucrative long-term order to churn out widgets for bird-mincers?  

The great thing about both job creation schemes is that they’re open-ended, the gift that keeps on giving. Hossenfelder tells how physicists have kept things moving by inventing ‘an entire particle zoo’ with names such as magnetic monopoles, wimpzillas and sterile neutrinos. They have even dreamed up ‘unparticles’.   

Similarly, the climate change carpetbaggers can go on cashing in till the polar bears come home, with alarmist stories about hurricanes, droughts, heatwaves, floods, melting ice caps and the imminent end of the world.   

As the song says: ‘Nice work if you can get it.’  

So what next? Surely a merger of the two job creation schemes must be on the cards? The search for the climate particle starts now.  

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Henry Getley
Henry Getley
Henry Getley is a freelance journalist.

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