Big Science Vs Small Science – A battle that never ends!

Big science is better or the small one? Now you could be confused because I have used the words big and small. After all how can science be big or small? Now let me give you the deeper meaning of my words. By small science I mean discovery or invention that took place in the world on a small scale involving a single individual. On the other hand big science is done on a large scale and includes funding by the government.

Big Science Vs Small Science
Big Science Vs Small Science

Let us now look at some examples in both the categories and also see why they are placed in the particular category. Taking a look at the small science category first in the list is the theory of special relativity by none other than the most popular scientist Albert Einstein. This theory gave us an all new explanation of our existence, space and time which was earlier unknown to mankind.

On the other side i.e. the big science category we have the Manhattan Project which spent up to 26 billion dollars and created the world’s first atomic bombs used during the Second World War. This success had been achieved with assistance from the UK and Germany. The best thing about this project is that it employed as many as 130,000 people. Isn’t that big?

Next on the list is the double helical structure of DNA in the small science category reported by James D. Watson and Francis Crick in the year 1953. Their discovery eventually got them a Nobel Prize. Similarly in the big science category we have the very popularized NASA Project launched by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958. This led to the landing of Apollo 11 on the surface of the moon. Besides this NASA today is the proud employer of more than 18,000 people and has a budget of $17.8 billion.

Did you know that the entire universe is filled with thermal background radiation? This fact was first discovered by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson which earned the pair the 1978 Nobel Prize and helped further mankind’s understanding of the origins of the universe. This is the reason why it is next on our list of small science category. How can the article be complete without the mention of mapping the human body in the big science category? So the story is a decade ago, the Human Genome Project successfully identified and mapped the 25,000 genes of the human genome, leading to a greater understanding of why our bodies are as they are and aiding in the treatment and prevention of diseases. The work of 18 scientists cost as much as 3.7 billion dollars.

We all know the importance of a transistor in most of the modern electronic goods. But how many of us know the history of its discover? John Bardeen, William Shockley and Walter Brattain, working for Bell labs in the 1940s, created what many have called the most important invention of the 20th century — the transistor. Thanks to them otherwise one can’t imagine how computer, cell phone and car would be today. After discussing the invention in the small science category now its time to move on to the big science. Here we have Large Hadron Collider – The largest and highest-energy particle accelerator in the world! Built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the collider’s purpose is to allow physicists to test their theories, including the recently confirmed existence of the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle. It was decided that this unique structure will be built near Geneva, Switzerland.

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Infographic from Non Profit Colleges Online