WASHINGTON—Six months after a White House panel concluded that United States competitiveness in high-temperature superconductivity hinged on the successful creation of a half-dozen industrial consortia dedicated to superconductivity research, nearly twice that many either exist or are now proposed. But while organizers tout the vast potential of superconducting electronics and stress the need to beat the Japanese in this field, troubling scientific and economic issues still cloud the prospects of success for U.S. consortia.

The collaborations embrace a variety of approaches. The most visible is the new blue-chip collaboration of IBM, American Telephone and Telegraph, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—put together with the help of former IBM vice president Ralph Gomory, who chaired the presidential panel calling for more consortia. The most ambitious is a proposed $1 billion venture by the Council on Superconductivity for American Competitiveness (CSAC), created by former White House science adviser George Key worth. Other...

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?