Superconductors: is Japan ahead?

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Author: Mark Crawford
Date: July 8, 1988
From: Science(Vol. 241, Issue 4862)
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Document Type: Article
Length: 772 words

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Superconductors: Is Japan Ahead? Japan may pull ahead of the United States in the race to bring new high-temperature superconductors to the marketplace, says the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) in a new study. If the United States hopes to compete with Japan in commercializing superconducting technology, asserts OTA, a research arm of Congress, American industry must intensify basic research and work on applications and potential manufacturing processes.

Research conducted by government agencies and federal subsidies for industry, in themselves, are not likely to ensure that U.S. companies are top contenders in the marketplace, according to the study. In fact, the country lacks a cohesive, focused strategy for developing superconductors and applying them to commercial products. OTA contends in the report, which was prepared at the request of several House and and Senate committees. While the United States may lead on the science front, this advantage will quickly disappear if American companies are not positioned to transform research findings into viable products.

Although the report is not directly critical of Reagan Administration efforts to promote the field, it indicates that the steps taken to date are not adequate. Not only is a broad...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A6504470