ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—University of New Mexico physicist Charles Bickel admits to being surprised by his encounter last summer with Roger Hagengruber, vice president for exploratory systems at Sandia National Laboratories. "I had suspected we were further apart on SDI," he said.

The revelation came as the two physicists participated in the Trinity Conference last June in Santa Fe. Before a public forum and assisted by a mediator, they engaged in a process called "dialoguing." After stating their views on SDI, they were encouraged to look for points of agreement. Despite the fact that Bickel believes the country spends too much on defense and Hagengruber thinks defense expenditures are justified, the two ultimately agreed that the level of SDI funding is unwarranted given the current level of knowledge.

Santa Fe's Trinity Forum, which sponsored the event, is one of three grassroots organizations that have tackled the bitter controversy surrounding the Strategic Defense...

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