Friday, 30 January 1987 Washington, DC
FLASH: THE SUPERCONDUCTING SUPERCOLLIDER has been approved
by the President as announced this afternoon in a hastily called
press conference by the Secretary of Energy, John S. Herrington.
Earlier in the day there was considerable confusion when Sen.
Phil Gramm (R-TX), of budget-balancing fame, announced on his own
that the SSC had been approved while the White House was
continuing to deny that a decision has been made. In his press
conference Herrington described the SSC as the high-energy
physics equivalent of putting a man on the moon. He defended the
decision on the grounds of scientific leadership and economic
competitiveness. The construction cost in FY 88 dollars was
estimated at $4.4 B with a possible completion date of 1996.
Additional technical details and site selection procedures will
be announced in a second press conference scheduled for 10 Feb
87. Secretary Herrington insisted there is no front runner for
the location of the SSC.
. THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS,
the long-awaited APS report, is still being held hostage by the
DOD. The 800-page report was delivered to the Strategic Defense
Initiative Organization on 25 Sept 86 for review (WN 26 Sept
86). It was subsequently revised to expunge "national security"
material and returned to SDIO in its purified form on 15 Jan 87.
The Deputy for Technology of SDIO, Dr. Louis Marquet, expressed
confidence today that the report can be released in a week or
two. According to Marquet, the long delay resulted not only from
issues of classification but also issues of technology transfer.
Under current policy, however, the final decision to release the
report must be made by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Public Affairs. Marquet also denied recent reports in The New
York Times that there had been a change in the policy of
releasing information on expenditures of SDI funds for specific
3. NSF DIRECTOR ERICH BLOCH gave an overview of NSF spending
plans to a group of representatives of the science community on
Wednesday. He described three main themes: (1) development of
human resources, (2) research centers aimed at increasing
competitiveness, (3) improving the research base. He contended
that the emphasis on "industry/university centers" is needed to
gain the support of Congress for Reagan's goal of doubling NSF
funding in 5 years. At this rate, however, doubling the NSF
budget could just about eliminate physics. In FY 83 the share of
the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate was 30.8% of
the total research budget of NSF. In the FY 88 request it is
27.2%. During the same period, Engineering has grown from 8.6%
to 10.8% of the total. The percent increase for the Mathematics
and Physical Sciences Directorate is 11% in the FY 88 budget as
compared to 26% for engineering.