It's been forever since the words "Superconducting Super Collider" were heard around these parts. Fifteen years ago Congress axed the project due to escalating costs -- what was supposed to run about $4 billion wound up jumping closer to $12 billion -- and its cancellation left Waxahachie and the surrounding cities in a wee bit of a funk. But, turns out, its demise came with a happy ending, as the Scientific American reports today:
Now, 15 years later, the SSC's sophisticated magnets are finally accelerating protons to high energy, but not for the pursuit of mysterious particles. Trace Life Sciences, based in Denton, Tex., bought the parts in 2003 to make radioisotopes for medical imaging and radiation therapy. If you have ever had a PET scan, the isotopes in your blood might have come from the most spectacular science experiment ever canceled.
And, yes, PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography, which looks for signs of cancer, heart disease and brain disorders. Has nothing to do with looking at your dog. Incidentally, the reason for the SSC revisit has to do with next week's firing up of the $8-billion Large Hadron Collider, which will make the Big Bang the SSC was supposed to a long, long time ago. --Robert Wilonsky
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.