Recently US plans for the LBNE next-generation neutrino experiment have run into trouble finding room in projected HEP budgets. Today (via Emanuel Derman’s twitter feed), I learn of a promising new source of funding. A Forbes columnist reports here on prospects for using neutrino-based communication through the earth to do high-frequency trading, arbitraging prices in markets on opposite sides of the globe.
To actually do this, I’d guess that financial firms would have to site machines like Fermilab’s proposed Project X and detectors like the LBNE one close to the servers running the markets. When they do this, maybe they’ll let physicists use them on weekends to do physics. It has been unclear whether the US government could afford to build Project X/LBNE, but surely Goldman Sachs and other major investment firms would have no problem coming up with the billions needed. Yes, I’m well aware that this is a completely insane and ridiculous idea, but that hasn’t been an obstruction to Wall Street innovations in recent years.
Update: For the latest on LBNE, see this from Nature, out today.