Friday, 12 December 97 Washington, DC
1. LARGE HADRON COLLIDER: U.S. JOINS AS A FULL PARTNER.
agreement, signed in the Old Executive Office Building on Monday,
took four years to negotiate following the demise of the SSC.
Missing from the ceremony was James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), chair
of the House Science Committee, the man most responsible for
ensuring that American taxpayers and scientists are protected in
writing (WN 23 May 97).
At Sensenbrenner's insistence, the U.S.
share is capped at $531M, regardless of overruns. CERN Director
General Christopher Llewellyn Smith expressed confidence in the
budget, noting that the LHC, which will use the existing 27 km
LEP tunnel, is two-thirds done. A fourth of all U.S. high energy
experimentalists will participate in the $6B project, and will
have an appropriate role in management decisions. However, there
is no commitment by Europe to a next-generation U.S. accelerator.
2. BROOKHAVEN: DOE ANNOUNCES THERE IS NO ANNOUNCEMENT ON HFBR.
Secretary Pena will not make a decision on restart of the High
Flux Beam Reactor until the Environmental Impact Statement is
ready, a year from now. According to the DOE Director of Energy
Research Martha Krebs, BSA, the new Brookhaven contractor
(WN 28 Nov 97)
supports the non-decision. She also refers to a Basic
Energy Science Advisory Committee report; while thanking BESAC
for its hard work, she emphasizes that it's only advisory -- but
doesn't say what it advises. BESAC recommends HFBR restart NOW!
3. QUANTUM TELEPORTATION: BEAM ME UP SCOTTY, IT'S NUTS DOWN HERE!
Do you think maybe they could have called it something else? In
the new issue of Nature, a group at the University of Innsbruck
says they have teleported the polarization state of a photon, as
Charles Bennett of IBM predicted four years ago. This could lead
to quantum computers. Unfortunately, the word "teleportation"
acts like a sex pheromone on trekkies, causing them to swarm in a
high state of excitement. I asked Marc Millis, director of NASA's
Breakthrough Physics Propulsion program
(WN 5 Dec 97), about the
potential for interstellar teleportation. He was not encouraging.
Nor was Charles Bennett, who pointed out that information in this
case is not communicated superluminally. Back to drawing board.
4. BUDGET: APS MEMBERS URGED TO WRITE TO PRESIDENT CLINTON.
The Clinton Administration is finalizing its budget for FY 1999. At
this point, it looks like zero growth for science. APS president
D. Allan Bromley thinks the President should be urged to support
the bipartisan National Research Investment Act of 1998 (S.1305)
that would double the federal investment in civilian research
over the next decade. The bill was endorsed without dissent by
the APS Executive Board at its November 22 meeting. Bear in mind
that the President may not read your letter personally; however,
the amount of mail will be tallied. Therefore, don't sweat the
details. Just make it clear up front which side you're on.