It costs £30,000 a day to operate our neutron beams, but for three days we had no helium to run our experiments on those beams. In other words we wasted £90,000 because we couldn’t get any helium. Yet we put the stuff into party balloons and let them float off into the upper atmosphere, or we use it to make our voices go squeaky for a laugh. It is very, very stupid. It makes me really angry.
Neutron beam research team leader Oleg Kirichek • Expressing rage at the shortage of the helium supply, which prevented his very important team from doing very important work. The earth has a limited supply of helium, which is a byproduct of petrochemical work — but for decades the gas was cheap, leading to shortages, or as Kirichek puts it: ”Now the stockpile is used up, prices are rising and we are realising how stupid we have been.” Get this guy some laughing gas; he needs to calm down a little.