Physics in Perspective

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 411-425

First online:

The Demise of the Superconducting Super Collider

  • Michael RiordanAffiliated withSanta Cruz Institute for Particle Physics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA, e-mail:

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The largest scientific project ever attempted, the Superconducting Super Collider fell to the axe of Congressional budget cutters in 1993. This paper surveys the ten-year history of the project and discusses the principal reasons for its termination. Special attention is paid to the impact of the end of Cold War upon the perceived need to reduce budget deficits and shift the priorities for U.S. science policy.

Key words. Big science; high-energy physics; international collaboration; science policy; superconducting magnets.