Tuesday, May 26, 2009

He who knows something gains respect. He who knows everything ...

Well, the Canadian Science Writers’ Association conference at Science North in Sudbury wrapped up yesterday, and today I got a chance to tour SNOLAB, the underground neutrino detector in the active Creighton Mine, which is currently retooling for SNO Plus, the hunt for dark matter.

Just for now: The Solar Neutrino Observatory (SNO) Lab is 2 kilometres underground, and then about two kilometres walk through an active nickel mine, followed by a serious shower and change into clean room gear. SNO's main recent experiment is now finished, and the lab is being retooled. But 16 science writers were allowed to tour Sno Plus, Canada's entry in the race to find a dark matter particle. More on all this great stuff later; I won't spoil it for you now.

The scientists I met and listened to there had something in common with the fascinating scientists who spoke at the Dynamic Earth on May 24 in the morning, on life forms of the oceans' abyssal plain, understanding dark matter, and extraterrestrial mining.

All took a great deal of time to explain what they were doing, and any that I approached with further questions were happy to answer them. But they were very clear about the fact that they do not remotely know all the answers and that no one does. I still have no idea what their political or religious opinions are, and do not care, any more than I suppose they want to hear mine.

I came away with great respect for them because I feel I can trust their information. Like the best journalists, they know the limits of their craft. Wish I could say the same for all.