Michael Glenn of Provo (Forum, Oct. 2) advised that the work being planned for the superconducting super collider is a redundant work effort. This is grossly incorrect.
Apparently Glenn has not bothered to stay current with the events that have been transpiring in the governmental efforts to destroy U.S. research.Shortly after taking office, President Clinton killed the entire Meson Physics Facility at Los Alamos National Labs. This resulted in 308 people directly losing their jobs in work that was non-defense-related. One of the major objectives of this project was in oncology (cancer research).
Since candidate Clinton had visited New Mexico five times on the campaign trail and promised its working people that science would be a central part of his "new economy," it became such a scandal that Energy Secretary O'Leary had to visit New Mexico's national research laboratories and attempt to reassure them that Washington still wanted scientific research to continue. What they saw was 308 jobs lost at Los Alamos Labs, with no notice, and an additional 800-plus jobs lost at Sandia National Labs.
It may in fact be true that little of the international funds promised for the super collider has materialized. If you were an international investor, would you want to sink billions of dollars into a project that is on-again and off-again? At one time, Japan had pledged $2 billion. President George Bush went to Japan and asked for only $1 billion.
There is absolutely no correlation between the funding levels of the super collider and other science projects. When Congress stops funding on one type of research endeavor, the money does not get redirected to other areas of research. What happens is that the monies get sent to international aid.
One example is the so-called "peace dividend" that was to materialize with the downsizing of the U.S. defense industry, which was one of the largest sources of R&D funds. The first of these "dividends" was channeled directly to Eastern Europe and a significantly smaller portion went to Central American aid. The "peace dividend" was not used to reduce the national deficit as Congress promised the American citizenry.
What Americans need is the courage to follow through on research projects. Today thousands of engineers, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, biologists, etc., are without work. These people could provide the country with technologies to make America a global economic powerhouse. The super collider has been recognized by many scientists across this nation as very relevant and viable research with unlimited returns to society.
American Association of Concerned Engineers