Science: Toward Asymptopia

Except for the space program, there is hardly a costlier quest in all of science than exploration of the inner universe of the atom. To peer more deeply into that hidden world—in which more than 100 strange subnuclear particles have already been discovered —scientists have been forced to build ever more powerful atom smashers. Trouble is, the cost of such monsters is now so high—$250 million, for example, for the 500-billion-electron-volt (BeV) accelerator now nearing completion at Batavia, Ill.—that high-energy physicists are anxiously looking for alternate ways of getting a bigger bang for...

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