Sidney Nagel claims that the goal of physics to find the basic underlying laws of nature has slowly been eroded—particularly in the US—since the demise of the Superconducting Super Collider.

The crash of a few commercial giants indeed depresses the stock market, but physics is not a stock market! Cancellation of the SSC cannot be used to define the vitality of the field. The edifices of particle physics still stand and are used by our cosmology colleagues with great benefit to our worldview. Inflationary theory of the Big Bang has its origins in the theories put forward by Peter Higgs about the sought-after Higgs particle. It is most likely that particle physicists will find dark matter, if indeed it exists in particle form. The symbiotic relationship between particle physicists and cosmologists is yielding a most active research domain nowadays.

Otherwise, I find Nagel’s excellent analysis a very valuable admonition to all physicists that they keep in mind the unity of physics and not be distracted by petty interdisciplinary arguments.