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The Science Budget Battle

Contrary to the argument advanced in the Science and Technology page column "The 'Big' Versus 'Little' Science Budget Battle," Feb. 19, the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC) has not "starved" smaller science projects in terms of funding.

With the full support and urging of Secretary James D. Watkins, this year's budget proposal for the Department of Energy contains an increase of over $50 million for university-based "small science" research undertaken by individuals or small groups. This will place the percentage of program funds going directly to universities near its historic high of a few years ago.

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The administration's position has been, and continues to be, that the SSC not come at the expense of other science. In fact, President Bush's fiscal year 1993 budget request reflects a high priority for civilian research and development across the board by proposing more than $30 billion for such programs government-wide. This includes nearly $8 billion, an increase of more than 9 percent over 1992, to support individual researchers, who are considered the backbone of the United States scientific and eng ineering community and who are located primarily at the nation's colleges and universities.

The SCC will be the largest scientific instrument ever built when it is completed in 1999. Designed to produce conditions that mimic the birth of the universe, researchers from all over the world will use the SSC to reveal the most fundamental secrets of matter and energy. In short, the SSC can be thought of as an exquisite microscope which will tell us more about the universe we share. It is a most important project for science and mankind, but it is not being built at the expense of other science proje cts which happen to be smaller in scope. Dr. William Happer, Washington, Director, Office of Energy Research, United States Department of Energy

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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