LONDON—A decision this month by Education and Science Secretary Kenneth Baker on how to allocate the additional 24 million pounds ($34 million) that the British government has promised to spend on science research is expected to push the country closer to dropping out of CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) and ending its support of particle physics.

The Advisory Board for the Research Councils met late last month to advise Baker on solutions to the crisis facing academic science. Its members failed to recommend an immediate withdrawal from the nuclear facility, but reportedly told Baker in a private letter that they “would have no option” but to recommend withdrawal at some future time unless Britain's contribution could be reduced substantially.

CERN, which straddles the Franco-Swiss frontier near Geneva, is the outstanding example of European collaboration in science. In 1984 Carlo Rubbia and Simon van der Meer shared a...

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