The Superconducting Supercollider, the $6 billion particle accelerator whose construction was just endorsed by the President, is inevitable. The only serious questions surrounding it for the past half dozen years have been when and where.

Why inevitable? Because the SSC is the unarguable means of answering the most fundamental scientific questions we can formulate: How are the forces of nature related, and what does that tell us about the underlying structure and behavior of matter? Progress in the past few years has given us increasing confidence that an experimental device of the power of the SSC may finally provide evidence and details of the Grand Unified Theory—the scientific payoff of 75 years of atomic and subatomic physics. And it's also becoming clear that we're ready and impatient to move onto that new level.

I think there are three essential issues that drove the President's decision to recommend funding for the...

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