It's a comment on the values of our society when an important contributor to everyone's welfare passes away and it takes so long to find out about it.
His mission changed when he became convinced, as he said, "it would be more profitable to attack our own wasteful energy use than to attack OPEC." He noted that "if we Americans used energy as efficiently as do the Europeans or Japanese, we would have been exporting oil in 1973." While most researchers at the time were trying to find ways of producing more energy, Rosenfeld committed himself from then on to reducing energy use.
As a result, his research focus shifted away from particle physics and instead to energy efficiency.