The Supercollider: It's Crunch Time

By smashing protons together with titanic force, the mammoth particle accelerator known as the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC) is supposed to help physicists unlock the deepest mysteries of matter--perhaps the very nature of the universe itself. The $8.25 billion machine will transform the farmland near Waxahachie, Tex., into the premier world center for high-energy physics. But long before it can quash its first proton, the supercollider faces a tougher challenge: winning the battle of the budget. A small but determined group of lawmakers wants to derail the project now, before engineers begin digging the SSC's huge tunnel.

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