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George Dyson on The World Question Center


From: George Dyson
Date: 7-3-99

I was recently transcribing an interview with Herbert York (science advisor in the Eisenhower administration, a founding director of ARPA, and the person who signed the first check--$999,750.00--for Project Orion) and noted the following:

"And Fermi, long before, in 1951, he loved to raise rhetorical questions, and one rhetorical question he raised is, suppose you had 200 million dollars to spend on science with no social or other inhibitions or pressures on how you spend it, what would you do? And then he immediately answered, 'Dig the deepest possible hole.' And he said, from a scientific point of view, we know less about what's under our feet than almost anything else about the world of nature in general."

I'm not sure what $200 million (1951) translates to in 1999, but $1,000,000,000 sounds about right, and raises a good question--which to some of the people on your list is not purely rhetorical.


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