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The SSC Deserves Better Criticism...

Philip Anderson recently spoke out in these pages against the project to build the Superconducting Supercoilider (THE SCIENTIST, June 1, 1987, p. 11). It is true that no major project in history has been without its critics; a requirement of unanimity would have been fatal to all such projects, including the pyramids, the Panama Canal, and all modern accelerators. But I do think we deserve better criticism. Anderson, a distinguished scientist and Nobel laureate, wrote about high-energy physi

Leon Lederman

Philip Anderson recently spoke out in these pages against the project to build the Superconducting Supercoilider (THE SCIENTIST, June 1, 1987, p. 11). It is true that no major project in history has been without its critics; a requirement of unanimity would have been fatal to all such projects, including the pyramids, the Panama Canal, and all modern accelerators. But I do think we deserve better criticism.

Anderson, a distinguished scientist and Nobel laureate, wrote about high-energy physics in opposition to the construction of Fermilab in 1970. In an article in New Scientist (vol. 50-51, p. 510, 1971) entitled “Are These Machines Necessary?” Anderson establishes a mind-set on the field of high-energy physics. History has shown all of his projections to be wrong. Nevertheless, his perceptions (or misconceptions) persist.

Most high-energy physicists have tremendous respect for scientists who work with the complexities of low-energy phenomena, for molecular...

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