The Department of Energy has kicked off a closely-watched competition to pick a team to manage the facility that will house the superconducting supercollider. More than 100 representatives of science-related companies and organizations showed up last month for a meeting in Washington to discuss the rules governing the selection of a contractor (two or more companies may submit a joint bid) to operate the new national laboratory that will be created once DOE picks a site for the SSC. Although DOE officials say that they expect to receive plenty of bids by the November 4 deadline, most observers say that the clear favorite is Universities Research Association. The Washington-based consortium of 66 universities already has a contract from DOE to operate Fermilab, the site of the nation’s largest accelerator, as well as to manage an organization of scientists in Berkeley, Calif., that has done the preliminary design work for the...

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