Turns Out, the Failed Superconducting Super Collider Was Kinda Super

How the SSC never became the world's largest skate park remains a mystery to science.

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
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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky