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PHYSICS THROUGH THE 1990s An Overview Physics Survey Committee Board on Physics and Astronomy Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1986
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NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. The Council operates in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, which establishes the Academy as a private, nonprofit, self- governing membership corporation. The Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in the conduct of their services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. It is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Main entry under title: Physics through the 1990s: An overview (Physics through the 1990s) Includes index. 1. Physics. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Physics Survey Committee. II. Series. QC21.2.P4794 1986 530'.072073 85-30999 1SBN 0-309-03578-3, soft cover ISBN 0-309-03581-3, hard cover Printed in the United States of America
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PHYSICS SURVEY COMMITTEE WILLIAM F. BRINKMAN, Sandia National Laboratories, Chairman JOSEPH CERNY, University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory RONALD c. DAVIDSON, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN M. DAWSON, University Of California, LOS Angeles MILDRED s. DRESSEEHAUS, Massachusetts Institute Of Technology VAL L. FITCH, Princeton University PAUL A. FLEURY, AT&T Bell Laboratories WILLIAM A. FOWLER, w. K. Kellogg Radiation Laboratory THEODOR w. HANSCH, Stanford University VINCENT JACCARINO, University of California, Santa Barbara DANIEL KEEPPNER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology AEEXE! A. MARADUDIN, University of California, Irvine PETER D. MACD. PARKER, Yale University MARTIN L. PERK, Stanford University WATT w. WEBB, Cornell University DAVID T. WILKINSON, Princeton University DONALD C. SHAPERO, Sta.ffDirector ROBERT L. RIEMER, Sta~Of~cer CHARLES K. REED, Consultant . . .
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BOARD ON PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY HANS FRAUENFEEDER, University Of Illinois, Chairman FELIX H. BOEHM, California Institute of Technology RICHARD G. BREWER, IBM San Jose Research Laboratory DEAN E. EASTMAN, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center JAMES E. GUNN, Princeton University LEO p. KADANOFF, The University of Chicago w. CARE LINEBERGER, University of Colorado NORMAN F. RAMSEY, Harvard University MORTON s. ROBERTS, National Radio Astronomy Observatory MARSHALL N. ROSENBEUTH, University of Texas at Austin WILLIAM p. SEICHTER, AT&T Bell Laboratories SAM B. TREIMAN, Princeton University DONALD c. SHAPERO, Sta~Director ROBERT L. RIEMER, Sta~O.fficer HELENE PATTERSON, Sta~Assistant SUSAN WYATT, Sta~Assistant 1V
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COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND RESOURCES HERBERT FRIEDMAN, National Research Council, Chairman THOMAS D. BARROW, Standard Oil Company (Retired) ELKAN R. BLOUT, Harvard Medical School WILLIAM BROWDER, Princeton University BERNARD F. BURKE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology GEORGE F. CARRIER, Harvard University CHARLES L. DRAKE, Dartmouth College MILDRED s. DRESSEEHAUS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOSEPH L. FISHER, Office of the Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia JAMES c. FLETCHER, University of Pittsburgh WILLIAM A. FOWLER, California Institute of Technology GERHART FRIEDEANDER, Brookhaven National Laboratory EDWARD D. GOLDBERG, Scripps Institution of Oceanography MARY L. GOOD, Signal Research Center J. Ross MACDONALD, University of North Carolina THOMAS F. MALONE, Saint Joseph College CHARLES J. MANKIN, Oklahoma Geological Survey PERRY L. MCCARTY, Stanford University WILLIAM D. PHILLIPS, Mallinckrodt, Inc. ROBERT E. SIEVERS, University of Colorado JOHN D. SPENGEER, Harvard School of Public Health GEORGE w. WETHERIEL, Carnegie Institution of Washington RAPHAEL G. KASPER, Executive Director LAWRENCE E. MCCRAY, Associate Executive Director
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Contents FOREWORD PREFACE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS SUMMARY Background, I Physics and the Nation, 2 Universities and Small-Group Research, 3 Large Facilities and Major Programs, 3 Supporting Physics Research, 4 Manpower, 4 International Position of U.S. Physics, 5 1 PHYSICS AND SOCIETY 2 PROGRESS IN PHYSICS Introduction, 11 Elementary-Particle Physics, I I Nuclear Physics, 12 V11 . . . . X111 XV . . XVI . 1 . 11
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· · — Vlll CONTENTS Condensed-Matter Physics, :13 Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, 13 Plasma Physics, 14 Cosmology, Gravitation, and Cosmic Rays, 14 Interfaces and Applications, 15 The Unity of Physics, 15 Progress in Particle Physics, IS Quarks and Leptons as Elementary Particles, IS Unification of the Forces of Nature, 20 Progress in Nuclear Physics, 21 Progress in Condensed-Matter Physics, 24 Surfaces, Interfaces, and Artificially Structured Materials, 24 Phase Transitions and Disordered Systems, 25 Progress in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, 28 Progress in Plasma and Fluid Physics, 31 Progress in Plasma Physics, 31 Fusion, 32 Space Plasmas, 34 Fluid Physics, 35 Progress in Gravitation, Cosmology, and Cosmic-Ray Physics, 35 Gravitational Physics, 35 Cosmology, 37 Cosmic-Ray Physics, 38 Interfaces and Applications, 39 Interface Activities, 39 Chemistry, 39; Biophysics, 40; Geophysics, 40; Materials Science, 41 Applications, 42 Energy and the Environment, 42; Medicine, 42; National Security, 43; Industry, 43 3 MAINTAINING EXCELLENCE. The Funding Process, 45 Educating the Next Generation of Physicists, 46 Primary and Secondary Education, 46 Undergraduate Education, 47 . 44
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CONTENTS iX Education at the Graduate Level, 48 Research in Small Groups, 49 Large Facilities and Major Programs, 53 Elementary-Particle Physics, 58 The Superconducting Super Collider, 58; Extensions of the Capabilities of Existing Accelerators, 60; Support of Existing and Extended Facilities, 61 Nuclear Physics, 61 The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility, 62; The Relativistic Nuclear Collider, 62; Extensions of Existing Facilities, 62 Condensed-Matter Physics, 63 Synchrotron Radiation Facilities, 63; Neutron Facilities, 64; High Magnetic Fields, 65 Plasma Physics, 65 Magnetic Fusion Research, 65; Inertial Fusion Research, 66 Space and Astrophysical Plasmas, 67 Gravitation, Cosmology, and Cosmic-Ray Physics, 67 Search for Gravitational Radiation, 68; Relativity Gyro- scope Experiment, 68; Vigorous Space Program in Astrophysics, 68; Long-Duration Cosmic-Ray Experiments, 69; Ground-Based Cosmic Rays, 69; Neutr~no Astronomy, 69 Manpower and Excellence, 69 Policy Issues Connected with Maintaining Excellence, 70 Role of Industry and Mission Agencies in Basic Research, 71 Freedom of International Communication and Exchange, 71 Computation and Data Bases, 72 Computers, 72 Data Bases, 73 SUPPLEMENT 1 INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS OF PHYSICS: THE U.S. POSITION IN THE WORLD COMMUNITY . . . . 75 Expenditures for Scientific Research in the United States and Abroad, 76
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x CONTENTS General Trends, 76 Trends in Specific Areas of Physics, 79 The U.S. Position in Basic Physics Research, 81 International Competition and Cooperation, 85 Increased Internationalization of the Physics Community, 85 Scale and Costs, 85 Avoiding Duplication, 86 Maintaining Breadth and Depth in Forefront Areas, 86 Freedom for Scientists and the Free Flow of Information, 87 Education of Foreign Phys United States, 87 Summary, 90 icists in the SUPPLEMENT 2 EDUCATION AND SUPPLY OF PHYSICISTS . Producing Trained Young Physicists A Historical Overview, 92 Enrollments and Degrees: The Prolonged Decline, 95 U.S. and Foreign Composition, 95 Women and Minorities, 95 Declining Enrollments in Physics Subfields, 98 Retention of Physics Degree Holders Mobility, 98 An Aging Community, 99 Changing Patterns of Employment, 101 Projections, 102 Demand Projections, 103 Academe, 103; Demand Scenarios Universities, 105; Demand Scenarios~-Year Colleges, 105; Demand Scenarios- Industrial and Other Nonacademic Sectors, 106 Supply Projections, 108 Physics Ph.D. Production, 109; Supply of Physics Ph.D.s: 1981-2001,111 The Demand-Supply Balance, ~14 Conclusion, II4 . 91
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CONTENTS X1 SUPPLEMENT 3 ORGANIZATION AND SUPPORT OF PHYSICS 115 The Diversity of Institutions for Research in Physics, 115 Major Facilities and National Laboratories, 116 University Research, 117 Industrial Research, 117 The Complementary Roles of Our Research Institutions, 118 Funding Support for Physics Research, 119 Organization and Decision Making, 135 ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS GLOSSARY OF PHYSICAL TERMS APPENDIX A: PANEL MEMBERS INDEX · · · . 139 . 142 . 157 .161
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Foreword PHYSICS THROUGH THE 1990s is an eight-volume survey of physics that documents the extraordinary accomplishments of physi- cists over the decade since the last such survey was completed. The survey also assesses opportunities for the next decade and addresses some of the obstacles that must be overcome if those opportunities are to be realized. The breadth and diversity of physics as portrayed in these volumes is truly breathtaking. Physics examines phenomena across an enor- mous range, from the subatomic to the cosmic. It is concerned with fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and the struc- ture of matter that have applications in virtually all human endeavors. Progress in physics has touched almost every science and every aspect of industry and technology with new ideas, new instruments and techniques, and new applications. Our whole picture of the nature of space and time and the elementary building blocks of matter is undergoing revolutionary change; the pace of revelations has accelerated with each passing year so that the productivity and accomplishments of physics have outstripped the most ambitious hopes of physicists of a decade ago. The development of new physics-based imaging technologies is ushering in a new era in medicine in which physiological functions can be mapped out with precision and in exquisite detail without even touching the patient. New techniques in solid-state physics, in which . . . x~
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XiV FOREWORD semiconductor devices can be tailored on the atomic scale, promise to introduce a new generation of high-speed devices that will form the basis for smaller, faster, and less costly computers of the future. It is unfortunate, in a sense, that these unique advances of physics should be occurring at a time of budgetary constraint that will affect the nation's scientific enterprise in many ways. But this conjunction of events does not detract from the value of the survey. Decisions must be made about the direction of scientific programs even in difficult times; what is more, the budgetary problems will eventually be overcome. In any case, those who direct our scientific research efforts will always require a clear picture of the state of the fields of science. I commend this overview volume to you as a presentation of the full panoply of scientific accomplishments and opportunities of physics. The conclusions and recommendations of this volume merit thoughtful consideration by decision makers concerned with physics and its application in academe, industry, and the federal government. The story it tells, fascinating in itself, cannot fail to fill us with expectations of even more spectacular accomplishment in the coming decades. FRAN K PRESS, Chairman National Research Council
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Preface The Physics Survey Committee took as its task to carry out a research assessment of the major fields of physics. The purpose of the assessment is to review the developments that have taken place since the last survey and to highlight research opportunities. This task is one of considerable scope, as the eight volumes that constitute the Physics Survey attest. In addition to this Overview, the volumes include Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physic s; Condensed-Matter Physics; Elementary-Particle Physics; Gravitation, Cosmology, and Cosmic- Ray Physics; Nuclear Physics; Plasmas and Fluids; and Scientific Interfaces and Technological Applications. These volumes document a physics enterprise that is vital, creative, and productive. A number of critical questions emerged in the course of the assess- ment effort, including the following: What are the areas of physics that showed the greatest progress over the past decade? What are the problems of educating the next generation of physicists? Will physics continue to provide the scientifically and technologically trained man- power required by our society? What is the U.S. position in the world physics community? Does our scientific support system still support excellence, in small projects and large? These questions are addressed in the present volume, Physics Through the 1990s: An Overview. WILLIAM F. BRINKMAN, Chairman Physics Survey Committee xv
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Acknowledgments The Physics Survey Committee acknowledges the contributions of the many groups that helped to complete the survey: the panel members (listed in Appendix A of this report); federal agencies listed below for assistance in developing data for Supplement 3; Beverly Fearn Porter and Roman Czujko of the American Institute of Physics for their help in preparing Supplement 2 on education and manpower; the National Research Council's Board on Physics and Astronomy and its staff for advice and assistance in carrying out the study; and Jacqueline Boraks for editing and preparing the final manuscripts for publication. The Board on Physics and Astronomy is pleased to acknowledge generous support for the Physics Survey from the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Commerce, the American Physical Society, Coherent (Laser Products Division), General Electric Company, General Motors Foundation, and International Business Machines Corporation. xv