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Because you never know

David Eastwood

In one episode of The West Wing (Dead Irish Writers, for the cognoscenti) senior presidential aide Sam Seaborn is approached by Dr Dalton Millgate because a senator is seeking to divert funding from a supercollider to other, political projects.

When Millgate explains the Superconducting Supercollider—”a 54-mile tunnel, 150 feet below ground in which protons and antiprotons would be flung into each other at the speed of light”—Sam asks what practical applications it has. The professor replies, “None at all”. When Sam tells Millgate that he’s “not in any way a helpful person”, the professor replies he doesn’t have to be helpful: he has tenure!

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