Friday, 14 August 1987 Washington, DC
REP. ROE HAS EMERGED AS A BACKER OF THE SUPER COLLIDER.
Shortly before the summer recess began, the Chairman of the House
Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Robert Roe (D-NJ),
along with Manuel Lujan (R-NM) and Robert Torricelli (D-NJ),
introduced a bill to authorize construction of a Superconducting
Super Collider (H.R.3228). The bill has already picked up 243
co-sponsors. This guarantees passage in the House, but the
strategy is clearly to run up the score as a demonstration of
broad Congressional support. Roe consented to co-sign a "Dear
Colleague" letter drafted by Rep. Lujan, the Ranking Minority
Member, exorting all members of Congress to join in support of
the "the most challenging and exciting scientific project which
this nation has ever undertaken on the surface of the earth."
Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, the letter concludes "give our
physicists the tools and they will do the work."
. FREEDOM OF SCIENTIFIC COMMUNICATION FACES A NEW CHALLENGE
from the Reagan Administration. Past attempts to impose
restraints on scientific communication have always been defended
on the grounds of national security. Now, for the first time,
the administration proposes to withhold "commercially valuable
scientific and technical information generated in Government
owned and operated laboratories that, if released, will harm US
competitiveness." This would require a change in the Freedom of
Information Act. The proposal is part of the 11-point
Superconductivity Initiative announced by the President two weeks
ago at the Federal Conference on Commercial Applications of
(WN 31 Jul 87). At the request of the
Administration, Congress amended the Freedom of Information Act
in 1984 to exempt information under the control of the DOD.
Congress will now be asked to further emasculate the embattled
Freedom of Information Act -- this time in the interests of
economic competitiveness rather than military security. The
Justice Department is currently drafting language for Congress to
consider, but they are not willing to talk about details.
From whom, you may ask, are they planning to withhold
information? Would they withhold information from non-government
laboratories that have foreign scientists on their staff? What
about companies that have foreign subsidiaries? Or foreign
stockholders? What about university faculty who have foreign
graduate students? It is hard to see how this can be reconciled
with another of the 11 points in the Superconductivity Initiative
that calls for agencies to "transfer technology developed in
Federal Laboratories into the private sector, and encourage
Federal, university, and industry cooperation in research."
3. SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AT 250K
has been observed by a group at
the University of Maryland in stable samples. In contrast to
previous reports of such high Tc, the results are reproducable.