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The Killing of the Superconducting Supercollider

  1. Jan 10, 2005 #1

    Simfish

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    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/L...ote_cfm.cfm?congress=103&session=1&vote=00296

    I'm a pro-science independent, but this thing really could influence my party affiliation.

    Apparently, here is the Senate vote that killed it. It was also killed in the House of Reps (but I can't find the voting record for that). I'm kinda confused though. Is it the conservatives or the liberals who killed it here? (Senate voting is sooo confusing for me at least). Bumpers (D-AR) voted Nay and he said that "finding the origin of matter is good, but balancing the federal budget is better." So I'd think that he's vote for cancelling funds for the supercollider.

    The Democrats are generally seen as pro-science, who want to shell in big bucks for research. And of coure, superconducting supercollider has little to do with defeating communism at this point so I'd expect the Republicans to vote against it. Still... I'm soo confused...

    So... looking at the amendment. It says, sponsored by Bumpers. Yet, Bumpers voted Nay. Voting against his own amendment? I'm confused...

    Can anyone care to clarify? Kerry voted Nay and he's the one critisizing Bush for Bush's science record. Also important to note is that the extremely liberal senators (Wellstone, Boxer) voted Nay and the extremely conservative ones (Helms, Thurmond) voted Yea.

    Thanks...
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2005
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  3. Jan 10, 2005 #2

    AD

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    It's strange that they do not include an option to summarise the vote by party affiliation amongst the other summaries. But anyway, a quick tally and I determined this:

    It appears at the time there were 56 Democrat senators and 44 Republican. 26 Democrats voted Yea and 29 Nay with one not voting. 31 Republicans voted Yea and 13 voted Nay. From the wording of the Statement of Purpose, it appears that a Yea vote is to terminate the project, not to keep it going.
     
  4. Jan 10, 2005 #3
    What's in a Name?

    Looking at the votes it doesn't look very partisan to me.

    The physics community could have picked a better name for the project than the Superconducting Super Collider. Sounds too much like a super-duper little toy for physicists to play with.

    They could have given the program a better sounding name that might have been taken a bit more seriously. Maybe something like, "The Quantum Field Energy Research Project". Something that didn't sound so much like a big toy! In fact, the name I've suggested here may have even come across sounding like it might be important for military defense projects!

    Can't blame it all on the politicians.

    Superconducting Super Collider :confused:

    I mean really,... :rolleyes:
     
  5. Jan 11, 2005 #4

    chroot

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    NeutronStar,

    You think the project was cancelled because people thought its name was funny? That's gotta be the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

    - Warren
     
  6. Jan 11, 2005 #5

    NoTime

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    You don't get out much do you :rofl:
    Wouldn't even make the top ten thousand on my list.

    Even worse
    He is probably right. :surprised :grumpy: :cry:

    Nowadays it seems that appearance is all. Content means nothing.
     
  7. Jan 11, 2005 #6

    Chronos

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    I've heard stupider. Stupid has an infinite number of infinitely low probability outcomes.
     
  8. Jan 11, 2005 #7

    marcus

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    Kerry voted against killing the SSC
    Wellstone and Boxer voted against killing the SSC

    Helms and Thurmond voted for killing the SSC

    what's the problem?

    the 44 Republicans voted 31 in favor of killing SSC to 13 opposed.
    (I am quoting AD, I didnt tally the votes)

    what needs clarification?
     
  9. Jan 11, 2005 #8

    vanesch

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    I think the killing of the SSC was somehow sad but justified. The management of the project went completely wrong, and if I remember well, it had already spend 4 times the initial planned budget when it was 1/4 through the project. Even though I'm a particle physicist, and even though I think that the SSC was a great idea which was sad to close down, I can fully understand that when a project is approved, and it is slowly turning out that it will cost about 20 times more than initially proposed, you get the door on your nose.
     
  10. Jan 11, 2005 #9

    selfAdjoint

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    Making big superconducting magnets work reliably in these colliders is apparently no easy trick. Tevatron is down more than it's up, and LHC is having constructuon troubles reminiscent of the SSC.
     
  11. Jan 11, 2005 #10
    Heh i never considered that it could have been the name that was the problem.

    I suppose if they had really wanted a name that would keep funding, they should have called it the "Civilian and Military Technology Enhancer."

    In their blurb on it they could note that every major breakthrough in science has been accompanied by technological enhancement. Therefore, they are just doing this for society...
     
  12. Jan 11, 2005 #11
    If the word "defense" is in the bill then the congresspeople will definitely vote to keep funding. Just say that the "Superconducting Supercollider (emphasis on the collider part)" can be used to "kill America's enemies" such as Communism, Terrorism, etc.
     
  13. Jan 11, 2005 #12
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
     
  14. Jan 12, 2005 #13

    vanesch

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    Indeed, and CERN also has big financial troubles (although I think they are finally clearing out the mess). There seem to be huge management problems with these kinds of projects. Maybe there's a law of nature that makes it impossible to be at the same time a bright physicist, a bright engineer, a great manager and a good friend to all of the political world who has to back you up :-)
     
  15. Jan 12, 2005 #14

    enigma

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    Stranger things have happened.

    When the Dyna-soar program (short for Dynamic Soaring; an alternative to the space shuttle) was cancelled, the name certainly played a part.

    When non-scientists who possibly don't know what a superconductor _is_ are asked to fund millions of dollars for construction, it's certainly possible that the name would bias their judgements.
     
  16. Jan 12, 2005 #15

    selfAdjoint

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    Sounds to me it was close to a straight up-and-down party vote. Most members probably didn't think about it at all, but just voted what their leaders wanted. Who was that representative from Michigan who used to give the "golden goose" awards to scientific projects. He was probably the ring leader.
     
  17. Nov 24, 2005 #16
    Actually, a lot of prominent DNC leaders voted Yea: Biden, Byrd, Daschle, Feinstein, Lieberman, Reid. However, the majority leader - George Mitchell - voted Nay. The Republican minority leader (sweet, sweet words) voted "Yea". So, the official "party lines" would have been - reps yea, dems nay.

    I hereby resurrect this thread in the name of Higgs.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2005
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