WASHINGTON—Ohio State University physicist William Palmer says he felt like “eollapsing in the corner” after working long hours to help his state complete its proposal for the Superconducting Supercollider.

But the september 2 filing deadline was just the beginning of the race for the multi-billion-dollar high-energy physics project. Officials from Ohio and 24 other states barely had time to catch their breath before plunging ahead into the next phase of the campaign, which will close at end of the year when a panel from the National Academies of Sciences and of Engineering draws up its list of best-qualified contenders. “Between now and then,” said Arizona SSC coordinator Ian Macpherson, “every nanosecond counts.”

In Louisiana, individuals and associations are blitzing key Department of Energy officials with letters. North Carolina’s team has prepared an hour-long video to be aired around the state this fall. Arizona has hired a Washington lobbyist to keep...

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