The Washington Post reports on massive cuts across the world of European science.  The impact on young scientist will be devastating as their research is placed on hold.  All 12 accelerators at CERN will be mothballed for at least a year.  The European Space Agency will face deep budget cuts as well.

The people who will not be deeply effected by this are the tenured professors.  One year off will just be a year with pay for them.   The people I worry about, the people who will be most effected by this, their graduate students. 

  A year without funding is death to the career of most graduate students.  If graduate education in Europe is anything like it is in the US, Research Asssistantships and post doctoral appointments are the bread and butter of scientist between the age of 22 and 35.  One of the ways a budget cut like this will likely save money is via less funding for these positions. 

The end results graduate students dropping out or taking on student loan type debt.  Leading to fewer future scientist.  Future scientist saddled with huge debts that they have to prioritize paying.  Prioritizing debt payments, leads to different career decisions, ones driven by money rather than scientific merit.  Effectively leaving many future scientist in career paths that do not lead to new innovations.  

Looking farther down the line, decisions made in Europe now could effect a generation of scientist that haven't graduated high school yet. 

The European  Extremely Large Telescope is one project that may be killed.

The European Extremely Large Telescope... On the Chopping block.

This telescope would be the LHC of astronomy and it may become the SSC of astronomy and cosmology.   A optical telescope with a main mirror radius of 42 meters.  Larger than any planned telescope by ten meters. (i.e. the US 30 meter telescope). 

Developing devices like the E-ELT  would provide work for the next decade in telescope science. Without it what breakthroughs in optics will we miss out on?  How many innovators will simply never find a job?  Big projects such as the above have a way of benefiting society in unforeseen ways. (The internet is the prime example. The microwave oven would be another?)  I'll bet that simply hearing that this device will not be built could stop many an intelligent young European from working to become an astronomer.  

Every program that's cut will have similar effects.  Current graduate students and young PhD's who's livelihoods depend on these projects will have to leave physics and astronomy.   Their departure may not be temporary at all.   The future will pay the price in terms of technological and intellectual stagnation.