WASHINGTON—Several states began the race to acquire the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC) long before January 30, when the Reagan administration sounded the starting gun by announcing its support for the $4.4 billion project. That early jump may prove decisive.

The August deadline for proposals gives an advantage to states that have spent plenty of money deciding where and how to build and operate the collider. Many of those decisions were made at least two years ago, and since then officials have mobilized governments, universities and private industry to carry out detailed and expensive site evaluations.

Dozens of states have expressed an interest in the project, and Energy Secretary John Herrington told Senate Energy Committee members two weeks ago that "there is no short list" of contenders. But there is consensus among high-energy physicists that six states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio and Texas—come closest to meeting the essential features that the Department...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?