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Tunnel VisionsThe Rise and Fall of the Superconducting Super Collider$
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Michael Riordan, Lillian Hoddeson, and Adrienne W. Kolb

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226294797

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226305837.001.0001

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Reactions, Recovery, and Analysis

Reactions, Recovery, and Analysis

(p.249) Chapter Seven Reactions, Recovery, and Analysis
Tunnel Visions

Michael Riordan

Lillian Hoddeson

Adrienne W. Kolb

University of Chicago Press

Reactions to the SSC termination ranged across a wide spectrum from stunned to regretful to laudatory. While high-energy physicists deplored the Congressional slaying, other scientists endorsed it. After initial shock subsided, DOE commissioned a 1994 report from the High-Energy Physics Advisory Panel to suggest how this scientific community could recover from such a devastating blow. It recommended that the United States join with CERN in an international collaboration to build the Large Hadron Collider, which happened in 1997, and that the nation proceed apace with smaller projects at Fermilab and SLAC. There were many reasons for the SSC demise, but three stand out: (1) the continuing cost overruns and perceptions of project mismanagement; (2) the absence of major foreign contributions; and (3) changing scientific priorities as the nation transitioned out of the Cold War. Basic physics research that might lead to fundamental discoveries and national prestige had fallen from favor.

Keywords:   SSC termination, HEPAP subpanel, international collaboration, Large Hadron Collider, cost overruns, project mismanagement, foreign contributions, Cold War’s end, national scientific priorities

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