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Hot off the Press! Tunnel Visions: The Rise and Fall of the Superconducting Super Collider

From Computing Bits, April 27, 2016

Recently published book on
the terminated SSC project
co-authored by retired Fermilab
 archivist Adrienne Kolb
Photo courtesy of University
of Chicago Press website

Just outside Waxahachie, Texas stand the remains of what was the biggest basic-science project ever attempted at the time: the Superconducting Super Collider. Started in 1983, the SSC was intended to be the largest accelerator ever made with record-breaking energy production. It would allow for significant discoveries, thus ensuring the placement of the United States at the forefront of the high-energy physics community. Due to a host of issues, the SSC project, only 20 percent complete, was terminated by Congress in 1993 after $2 billion had been spent. Today, 14 miles of tunnels and a network of abandoned buildings are all that remain of what was once a symbol of cutting-edge science and technology.

What went wrong? How was U.S. scientific research affected? What can we learn? Two former Fermilab employees, Lillian Hoddeson and Adrienne Kolb, wanted answers to these questions. After three decades of research, including two decades with fellow author Michael Riordan, their work culminated in the book Tunnel Visions: The Rise and Fall of the Superconducting Super Collider, which can be found in print and PDF format through the Fermilab Library and will soon be available for purchase in the Lederman Science Education Center.

Read the full article in Computing Bits

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