Friday, 30 January 1987 Washington, DC

by the President as announced this afternoon in a hastily called press conference by the Secretary of Energy, John S. Herrington. Earlier in the day there was considerable confusion when Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), of budget-balancing fame, announced on his own that the SSC had been approved while the White House was continuing to deny that a decision has been made. In his press conference Herrington described the SSC as the high-energy physics equivalent of putting a man on the moon. He defended the decision on the grounds of scientific leadership and economic competitiveness. The construction cost in FY 88 dollars was estimated at $4.4 B with a possible completion date of 1996. Additional technical details and site selection procedures will be announced in a second press conference scheduled for 10 Feb 87. Secretary Herrington insisted there is no front runner for the location of the SSC.

the long-awaited APS report, is still being held hostage by the DOD. The 800-page report was delivered to the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization on 25 Sept 86 for review (WN 26 Sept 86). It was subsequently revised to expunge "national security" material and returned to SDIO in its purified form on 15 Jan 87. The Deputy for Technology of SDIO, Dr. Louis Marquet, expressed confidence today that the report can be released in a week or two. According to Marquet, the long delay resulted not only from issues of classification but also issues of technology transfer. Under current policy, however, the final decision to release the report must be made by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. Marquet also denied recent reports in The New York Times that there had been a change in the policy of releasing information on expenditures of SDI funds for specific programs.

3. NSF DIRECTOR ERICH BLOCH gave an overview of NSF spending
plans to a group of representatives of the science community on Wednesday. He described three main themes: (1) development of human resources, (2) research centers aimed at increasing competitiveness, (3) improving the research base. He contended that the emphasis on "industry/university centers" is needed to gain the support of Congress for Reagan's goal of doubling NSF funding in 5 years. At this rate, however, doubling the NSF budget could just about eliminate physics. In FY 83 the share of the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate was 30.8% of the total research budget of NSF. In the FY 88 request it is 27.2%. During the same period, Engineering has grown from 8.6% to 10.8% of the total. The percent increase for the Mathematics and Physical Sciences Directorate is 11% in the FY 88 budget as compared to 26% for engineering.

Bob Park can be reached via email at
Opinions are the author's and are not necessarily shared by the University, but they should be.