Bulletin of the American Physical Society
APS April Meeting 2011
Volume 56, Number 4
Saturday–Tuesday, April 30–May 3 2011; Anaheim, California
Session T10: History of Physics II
3:30 PM–5:06 PM,
Monday, May 2, 2011
Room: Garden 1
Sponsoring Unit: FHP
Chair: Gloria Lubkin, Physics Today, Retired
Abstract ID: BAPS.2011.APR.T10.1
Abstract: T10.00001 : Building the Superconducting Super Collider, 1989-1993: The Problem of Project Management*
3:30 PM–3:54 PM
Preview Abstract Abstract
(University of California, Santa Cruz, and Stanford University)
In attempting to construct the Superconducting Super Collider, US particle physicists faced a challenge unprecedented in the history of science. The SSC was the biggest and costliest pure scientific project ever, comparable in overall scale to the Manhattan Project or the Panama Canal - an order of magnitude larger than any previous particle accelerator or collider project. Managing such an enormous endeavor involved coordinating conventional-construction, magnet-manufacturing, and detector-building efforts costing over a billion dollars apiece. Because project-management experience at this scale did not exist within the physics community, the Universities Research Association and the US Department of Energy turned to companies and individuals from the military-industrial complex, with mixed results. The absence of a strong, qualified individual to serve as Project Manager throughout the duration of the project was a major problem. I contend that these problems in its project management contributed importantly to the SSC's 1993 demise.
*Research supported by NSF Award No. 823296.
To cite this abstract, use the following reference: http://meetings.aps.org/link/BAPS.2011.APR.T10.1
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