« PrécédentContinuer »
Senator FORD. Thank you very much, Dr. Merzbacher. Let me ask both of you this question. And I think, Dr. Merzbacher, you made the statement. But are both of you concerned that the SSC may end up taking resources away from other research areas that are supported and are maintained by DOE? Dr. Drell.
Dr. DRELL. I would be concerned if that were the case. In my re marks I emphasized that, I view the SSC as a declared national goal that is to be built because of its scientific merit and as part of this nation's policy of investing in the scientific frontier. If the price of building the SSC, as much as I want it, is to harm the base of science in this country-all of physics, chemistry and biology, or in fact, other immediate needs of this country—then, all I can say is, sir, I do not want it.
I think it is an extremely important machine for us to build, and we look to our Congress, our Representatives or Senators for the leadership to set a balance of funding that is an investment in the future, a legacy for the next generation and for maintaining a strong, scientific community across the board in this country and for meeting our other needs. But if I were forced to say, would I rob Peter to pay Paul, I would have to say, I do not want this machine.
Senator FORD. Yes, but Paul would always be for Peter too, is he not?
Dr. DRELL. I mean, your problem is much harder than the problem of the physicist who tells you, why I need this machine. We look to you for the leadership which says, where do you find the resources of investing in the greatness of this country and our civilization for the future.
Dr. MERZBACHER. I agree with Sid Drell certainly. My concern is sort of a practical one that no matter what we pronounce piously in the spring now that, if it happens that funds really are very limited that we be sure that we maintain this healthy attitude in the fall also.
Senator FORD. I understand that language very well.
I asked the others, at what point in cost would you recommend that we stop or halt or whatever? And your point is, when it starts deluding other areas of research.
Dr. Schwitters said limit only by-only by the amount of young that are encouraged and enthused. And he did not put this question as it relates to dollars. He gave his answers on the basis that students, graduates, those who are enthused and interested, and as long as you have that, this project can move forward. But no amount of money will take care of the other part.
Dr. DRELL. Can I make just one comment, which I did not hear said explicitly in this morning's testimony. I have been in the field of high energy physics for a long time. I chaired the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel for the Department of Energy, the AEC before that for eight years. And so, these questions of cost and cost escalations have been before us for many years.
I have never seen a machine more thoroughly reviewed in terms of its cost and understanding as this one has now. And that was a factor in my panel's considerations. I think that given now the experience gained from the Tevatron operation and the HERA oper. ation in Germany about superconducting magnets and the residual fields at low field strengths, we have a very solid technical base for confidence that there are no big ghosts or skeletons in the closet.
There will, of course, be some cost inevitably having to do with labor market and practical things which will cost small parts. And I think Dr. Schwitters was quite accurate in the presentation. But I have a level of confidence in this machine that is unusually high, in the sense that it has been thoroughly scrubbed. And the most recent review, which has built in a good margin of conservatism by enlarging the aperture and increasing the injector energy.
Senator FORD. I might say, Doctor, that I am beginning to agree with your analysis a little. But this year, it is $318 million.
Dr. DRELL. Yes.
Senator FORD. At this cost, SSC will need $900 million annually when we get to the full construction.
Dr. DRELL. Yes.
Senator FORD. Now, it will increase the budget. We only have two sides to work here, increase the budget, or we will take it from other physics.
Dr. DRELL. I think you will find that at that stage when we are really rolling ahead and one sees the light at the end of the tunnel, you will find that more and more of the high energy physics community and accelerator community will be engaged in the work of that machine and in preparing to utilize it.
You do not just go in and use the machine when it turns on, as we learned at SLAC very well. It takes years of investment, intellectual investment of learning how to be creative working with these awesome instruments that are going to be the detectors of this machine. And I think you will find that there will be part of that $900 million coming out of what is now the base program at the other labs in a natural way.
Senator FORD. All those other high energy people will not want to give up on their projects either, and that is somewhere around $600 million a year now. So, it continues. There is no lottery here.
Dr. DRELL. No, no. I believe-
Senator FORD. If there is a lottery, we want to be the winners, so we can fund it.
Dr. DRELL. No, I understand that. And no one wants to give up. But I think we-you have every right to expect us to behave better than this to say that, you cannot close our arsenal or our military base or something. No, I think, there will be an evolution in there in a natural way.
Senator FORD. There is probably more people at the base closing to vote than there would be your people.
Dr. DRELL. That is true. That is true.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Merzbacher, I strongly agree with you—what you say about science. I think we need more money in science in general in this country. But I also agree with Senator Ford, we need to prioritize things.
Now, I asked earlier to the science advisor about the-or Senator Bumpers asked about the space station, and he said, it was not appropriate for him to say how important that was. Would you care to give us your view?
Dr. MERZBACHER. Well, I am not really terribly well informed on the space station. I have had some I have wondered about it, and I have talked to my colleagues in physics and also in astronomy. And I am not fully convinced that that proposed way is really the most effective way of reaching the goals that are set out for it.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, actually, as I understand it
Dr. MERZBACHER. You know, I think that unmanned space exploration is certainly extremely important.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, do not most of your colleagues say that unmanned is superior to the manned space station?
Dr. MERZBACHER. I think many of them do say that, yes.
Dr. DRELL. Well, I have to agree with that. And I think, as I see it, the unanimity with which not only the high energy physics community, but I believe the entire scientific community backs the SSC, if one understands that the money for it is not being taken away from them. But, I mean, it is being built as a national
goal in addition to a sound program.
That unanimity does not exist for the space station, and I think for good reason. Because there are many scientists who feel that the basic science that one wants to learn may be better learned without the interference of the human disturbance of the medium and of the environment and the added cost.
The CHAIRMAN. The space telescope, the Hubble space telescope is a much more broadly supported, is it not?
Dr. DRELL. I can wax lyric about that to the same extent you have heard me wax lyric about the SSC. I think today-hopefully it gets into an operating orbit and operates. We still have some-our fingers crossed on that. But I think it is just a fantastic moment in history that we can do that.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree. You have heard us talk about this magnet technology. Do you have any view, either one of you, about whether we should do that at home, or whether we ought export that. Is that a matter as to which you have a few comments?
Dr. DRELL. It is not an area of my expertise, especially, Senator. But to me, it seems to me the operative point is that, we have our industry engaged in all the important aspects of developing the production and the quality control and whatnot that, we become comfortable with all those technologies. And, in fact, to the extent that we are developing new standards. We are advancing those standards.
I cannot quite translate that into saying, we have to build 100 percent of them, though. And there, I think, there is the room for a balance which I am not prepared to set.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Merzbacher, since I have got you here, let me digress to another subject. The American Physical Society has issued some very good reports in the past on SDI.
Dr. MERZBACHER. One.
Dr. MERZBACHER. No. No, that stands where it was when it was issued two years ago and I have recently spoken with one of the co authors, Dr. Bloembergen, who with Dr. Patel was the leader of the group that produced that, and Dr. Bloembergen is actually my successor. He is the president-elect of the American Physical Society, and just last week we talked briefly about that and he says that he feels that the report has been vindicated and has in fact-the conclusions have become stronger, if anything, in the intervening time.
The CHAIRMAN. There was a high degree of skepticism as to the deployment of SDI with that first report, was there not?
Dr. MERZBACHER. Yes. Specifically, directed energy weapons, not the entire SDI program. It addressed directed energy weapons.
The CHAIRMAN. Those conclusions have only been reinforced.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that is all I have, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much, Dr. Merzbacher and Dr. Drell.
Senator FORD. Dr. Merzbacher, I have one final question here, and I have been listening and according to the chart that you gave us here and we studied, do you—the majority of members of the American Physical Society are not high-energy physicists. That is, not potential users of the SSC. As President, you must have some idea of the degree of support for the SSC among your fellows who are not high-energy physicists. Can you tell us about the support for it?
Dr. MERZBACHER. The Society certainly has never taken any kind of a poll among its members.
Senator FORD. You have a feel of the pulse of it, do you not?
Dr. MERZBACHER. Well, I think almost all—not quite all, but almost all of us feel that it is a tremendously exciting venture intellectually and into an area that eventually people will move. Even if we did not do it now, certainly, people will move forward in that direction, and I certainly share that very much.
But there are certainly some people who think that this is not the time, we are not ready for it, there are better ways of exploring the universe, but I think that is a small minority, so on the whole I think you would find most people supportive of the idea, although many will wonder about the timing and the appropriateness.
Senator FORD. The problem is the siphoning off of money from other areas?
Dr. MERZBACHER. The effect on other parts of science, right-serious concern.
Senator FORD. Dr. Drell made a very passionate statement there earlier, said that this was such magnitude that the others would gravitate toward its use, and so that means that those skeptics now would gravitate toward the use.
Dr. DRELL. It is compellingly exciting, as is much of other physics, too, and I think the worry-and that is being reflected in Dr. Merzbacher's statement-is that it be done in a way that does not cause, shall I say atrophy, or further squeezing in other important areas of research in this country.
Senator FORD. Well, I say to the doctor, this is like baseball. You said enthusiasm in the spring should not wane in the fall. Well, there is not much enthusiasm except for the Cincinnati Reds, they went nine zip, you know, without losing the ball game, and lost the first one.
We have the World Series in the fall, and the excitement generates towards that time. So let us hope that when October 1 arrives that the budget looks good and things are on the move and we can prepare for next spring.
Dr. DRELL. I hope so. Senator FORD. Thank you, gentlemen. This hearing is adjourned. [Whereupon, at 1:13 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]