The collapse of the Soviet bloc and the rise of free-market systems has resulted in reduced funding for most types of scientific research in academic institutions worldwide.That's the view of Steven Weinberg, a University of Texas professor and winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, who spoke at a research conference at the university. Weinberg told students: Increasingly expensive instruments and facilities are required to understand the origins of the universe. While demand for facilities grows, the world's free-market economies are de-emphasizing scientific financing that does not hold the promise of short-term profits in the form of consumer goods. The catalyst for funding in the past was icy relations with the former Soviet Union. The US government was more willing to support scientific research when faced with the growing threat of technological superiority from the Soviet bloc.