Superconducting Super Collider
SSC site, 2008
|Intersecting Storage Rings||CERN, 1971–1984|
|Super Proton Synchrotron||CERN, 1981–1984|
|ISABELLE||BNL, cancelled in 1983|
|Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider||BNL, 2000–present|
|Superconducting Super Collider||Cancelled in 1993|
|Large Hadron Collider||CERN, 2009–present|
|High Luminosity Large Hadron Collider||Proposed, CERN, 2020–|
|Very Large Hadron Collider||Theoretical|
The Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) (also nicknamed the Desertron) was a particle accelerator complex under construction in the vicinity of Waxahachie, Texas, that was set to be the world's largest and most energetic, surpassing the current record held by the Large Hadron Collider. Its planned ring circumference was 87.1 kilometres (54.1 mi) with an energy of 20 TeV per proton. The project's director was Roy Schwitters, a physicist at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Louis Ianniello served as its first Project Director for 15 months. The project was cancelled in 1993 due to budget problems.
Proposal and development 
The system was first formally discussed in the December 1983 National Reference Designs Study, which examined the technical and economic feasibility of a machine with the design capacity of 20 TeV per proton. Fermilab director and subsequent Nobel physics prizewinner Leon Lederman was a very prominent early supporter – some sources say the architect or proposer – of the Superconducting Super Collider project, which was endorsed around 1983, and a major proponent and advocate throughout its lifetime.
After an extensive Department of Energy review during the mid-1980s, a site selection process began in 1987. The project was awarded to Texas in November 1988 and major construction began in 1991. Seventeen shafts were sunk and 23.5 km (14.6 mi) of tunnel were bored by late 1993.
During the design and the first construction stage, a heated debate ensued about the high cost of the project. In 1987, Congress was told the project could be completed for $4.4 billion, and it gained the enthusiastic support of Speaker Jim Wright of nearby Fort Worth, Texas. By 1993, the cost projection was $12 billion. A recurring argument was the contrast with NASA's contribution to the International Space Station (ISS), a similar dollar amount. Critics of the project (Congressmen representing other US states and scientists working in non-SSC fields who felt the money would be better spent on their own fields) argued that the US could not afford both of them. Early in 1993 a group supported by funds from project contractors organized a public relations campaign to lobby Congress directly, but in June, the non-profit Project on Government Oversight released a draft audit report by the Department of Energy's Inspector General heavily criticizing the Super Collider for its high costs and poor management by officials in charge of it.
Congress officially canceled the project October 21, 1993 after $2 billion had been spent. Many factors contributed to the cancellation: rising cost estimates; poor management by physicists and Department of Energy officials; the end of the need to prove the supremacy of American science with the collapse of the Soviet Union; belief that many smaller scientific experiments of equal merit could be funded for the same cost; Congress's desire to generally reduce spending; the reluctance of Texas Governor Ann Richards; and President Bill Clinton's initial lack of support for a project begun during the administrations of Richards's predecessor, Bill Clements, and Clinton's predecessors, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. However, in 1993, Clinton tried to prevent the cancellation by asking Congress to continue "to support this important and challenging effort" through completion because "abandoning the SSC at this point would signal that the United States is compromising its position of leadership in basic science".
Following Rep. Jim Slattery's successful orchestration in the House, President Clinton signed the bill which finally cancelled the project on October 31, 1993, stating regret at the "serious loss" for science.
Leon Lederman, a promoter and advocate from its early days, wrote his 1993 popular science book The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? - which sought to promote awareness of the significance of the work which necessitated such a project - in the context of the project's last years and loss of congressional support.
The closing of the SSC had adverse consequences for the southern part of the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, and resulted in a mild recession, most evident in those parts of Dallas which lay south of the Trinity River. When the project was canceled, 22.5 km (14.0 mi) of tunnel and 17 shafts to the surface were already dug, and nearly two billion dollars had already been spent on the massive facility.
Comparison to the Large Hadron Collider 
The SSC cost was due largely to the massive civil engineering project of digging a huge tunnel underground. The LHC, in contrast, took over the pre-existing engineering infrastructure and 27 km long underground cavern of the Large Electron-Positron Collider, and used innovative magnet designs to bend the higher energy particles into the available tunnel. The LHC eventually cost the equivalent of about 5 billion US dollars to build.
Current status of site 
After the project was canceled, the main site was deeded to Ellis County, Texas, and the county tried numerous times to sell the property. The property was finally sold in August 2006 to an investment group led by the late J.B. Hunt. Collider Data Center has contracted with GVA Cawley to market the site as a data center.
Chemical company Magnablend bought the property and facilities in 2012, against some opposition from the local community.
See also 
- UNK proton accelerator a similar competing Soviet project discontinued at about the same time in Russia.
- Einstein's Bridge and A Hole in Texas, both science fiction novels about the SSC
- The God Particle by Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi
- John G. Cramer (May 1997). "The Decline and Fall of the SSC". The Alternate View column. Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine. Archived from the original on 1997-10-10. Retrieved 2011-05-09.
- "In Memory of Louis Ianniello". JOM (Minerals, Metals & Materials Society). October 2005. Retrieved 2012-08-17. "Ianniello initiated the effort to construct the Superconducting Supercollider as the first project director, established the organization, led the project through the first crucial 15 months defining the Texas site specific baseline, and led the project through initial Congressional approval" (archived at Highbeam)(subscription required)
- Steven Weinberg, The Crisis of Big Science, New York Review of Books, May 10, 2012.
- Hoddeson & Kolb 2001, p. 275.
- ASCHENBACH, JOY (1993-12-05). "No Resurrection in Sight for Moribund Super Collider : Science: Global financial partnerships could be the only way to salvage such a project. But some feel that Congress delivered a fatal blow.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 January 2013. "Disappointed American physicists are anxiously searching for a way to salvage some science from the ill-fated superconducting super collider ... "We have to keep the momentum and optimism and start thinking about international collaboration," said Leon M. Lederman, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who was the architect of the super collider plan"
- Lillian Hoddeson (Professor of History at the University of Illinois) and Adrienne Kolb (Fermilab archivist and author). "Vision to reality: From Robert R. Wilson's frontier to Leon M. Lederman's Fermilab". arXiv:1110.0486. Retrieved 16 January 2013. "Lederman also planned what he saw as Fermilab's next machine, the Superconducting SuperCollider (SSC)" direct link: 
- Abbott, Charles (June 1987). "Illinois Issues journal, June 1987". p. 18. "Lederman, who considers himself an unofficial propagandist for the super collider, said the SSC could reverse the physics brain drain in which bright young physicists have left America to work in Europe and elsewhere." (direct link to article: 
- Kevles, Dan. California Institute of Technology: "Engineering & Science". 58 no. 2 (Winter 1995): 16–25 http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/568/1/ES58.2.1995.pdf
|url=missing title (help). Retrieved 16 January 2013. "Lederman, one of the principal spokesmen for the SSC, was an accomplished high-energy experimentalist who had made Nobel Prize-winning contributions to the development of the Standard Model during the 1960s (although the prize itself did not come until 1988). He was a fixture at congressional hearings on the collider, an unbridled advocate of its merits "
- Staff, Wire services (December 29, 2009). "Q & A: Texas supercollider project scrapped". tampabay.com. St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
- Jim Riddlesperger of Texas Christian University, "Jim Wright", West Texas Historical Association and East Texas Historical Association, joint meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, February 26, 2010.
- Wire Services (June 23, 1993). "Super Collider's first collision is with auditors". The Milwaukee Journal. p. A9. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
- The Superconducting Super Collider's Super Excesses. POGO.org; Project on Government Oversight.
- Michelle Mittelstadt, (AP) (October 22, 1993). "Congress officially kills collider project". Lewiston, MN: Sun Journal (Lewiston). p. 7. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- Alvin W. Trivelpiece (2005). "Some Observations on DOE's Role in Megascience" (PDF). History of Physics Forum, American Physical Society. Retrieved 2010-07-11. Trivelpiece recounts hearing "about a conversation between the Governor of Texas, the Honorable Ann Richards, and President Clinton early in his administration. He asked her if she wanted to fight for the SSC. She said no. That meant it would no longer be an administration imperative."(subscription required)
- President Bill Clinton (June 16, 1993). "Letter to Representative William H. Natcher on the Superconducting Super Collider" (pdf). U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 2012-04-04. The letter reads in part, "As your Committee considers the Energy and Water Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1994, I want you to know of my continuing support for the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC). ... Abandoning the SSC at this point would signal that the United States is compromising its position of leadership in basic science—a position unquestioned for generations. These are tough economic times, yet our Administration supports this project as a part of its broad investment package in science and technology. ... I ask you to support this important and challenging effort."
- "Stating Regret, Clinton Signs Bill That Kills Supercollider". The New York Times. October 31, 1993. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- Calder, Nigel (2005). Magic Universe:A Grand Tour of Modern Science. pp. 369–370. "The possibility that the next big machine would create the Higgs became a carrot to dangle in front of funding agencies and politicians. A prominent American physicist, Leon lederman, advertised the Higgs as The God Particle in the title of a book published in 1993 ...Lederman was involved in a campaign to persuade the US government to continue funding the Superconducting Super Collider... the ink was not dry on Lederman's book before the US Congress decided to write off the billions of dollars already spent"
- Jeffrey Mervis (October 3, 2003). "Scientists are long gone, but bitter memories remain". Science 302 (5642): 40–41. doi:10.1126/science.302.5642.40. PMID 14526052. Retrieved 2010-07-11.(subscription required)
- Jeffrey Mervis; Charles Seife (October 3, 2003). "Lots of reasons, but few lessons". Science 302 (5642): 38–40. doi:10.1126/science.302.5642.38. PMID 14526051. Retrieved 2010-07-11.(subscription required)
- Info about the civil engineering cost and magnets is at It's the Magnets, Stupid, Anil Ananthaswamy, edgeofphysics.com
- Christine Perez (August 18 2006). "GVA Cawley to market former super collider". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved 2010-07-11. Collider Data Center, LLC.
- GVA Cawley (August 16, 2006). "High Profile Superconducting Super Collider Project from Early 90's Sees New Life (press release)". Superconductor Week. Archived from the original on 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
- Shipp, Brett (January 31, 2012). "Neighbors vow to fight chemical plant at Super Collider site". WFAA.
- Hoddeson, Lillian; Kolb, Adrienne W. (August 2001). "The superconducting Super Collider's Frontier Outpost, 1983-1988". Fermilab: 271–310.
- Leon Lederman; Dick Teresi (1994). "The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?". Delta. ISBN 0-385-31211-3.
- Herman Wouk (2004). "A Hole In Texas", fiction. Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-52590-1.
- Bruce Sterling (July 1994). "The Dead Collider". Fantasy & Science Fiction Science column. Issue #13, 1994.
- Michael Riordan (2001). "A Tale of Two Cultures: Building the Superconducting Super Collider, 1988–1993". Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 32(1), pp. 125–144 (Fall 2001), doi:10.1016/j.shpsa.2009.06.004
- Michael Riordan (December 2000). "The Demise of the Superconducting Super Collider". Physics in Perspective, 2(4), pp. 411–425. (subscription required)
- Sidney D. Drell, Chair. (May 2004). "The Superconducting Super Collider Project: A Summary" (archive of original. U.S. Department of Energy, High Energy Physics Advisory Panel's Subpanel on Vision for the Future of High Energy Physics.
- H.-Ulrich Wienands, ed. (1997). "The SSC Low Energy Booster" IEEE Press. ISBN 0-7803-1164-7
- "Photo Tour of the SSC facility (2003)". Archived from the original on 2008-04-11.
- "The High Water Mark of American Science". (photo tour). American Physical Society Physics Central blog, March 24, 2011.