The Greek physician Hippocrates of Cos (ca. 460 – 377 BCE), said once: “avoid all citations from the poets, for to quote from them argues feeble industry.” He did not have a similar opinion about citations of scientific results.
These days, the Hubble Space Telescope has passed yet another milestone. There have been more than 300,000 citations in scientific papers to results based on Hubble data. To be precise, on November 5, 2009, the number of citations was 301,373.
Think about this for a moment. This means that on average, every day since Hubble’s launch, there have been more than 40 citations to Hubble-based research!
One could hardly have expected a higher level of scientific impact. No wonder then, that when particle physicists expressed their ambitions for the Large Hadron Collider – the enormous particle accelerator near Geneva – they said that they “hope the machine will be a sort of Hubble Space Telescope of inner space.”