Wielding golden scissors, politicians and educators cut a ribbon and formally opened Boston University's state-of-the-art $80 million Photonics Center last month. On hand were Sens. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii. Both Kennedy and Inouye, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, were influential in obtaining $29 million from the US Department of Defense to begin the project. The university supplied the additional funds.Inouye said that while many in Congress viewed the funding as "provincial pork," he was convinced by university Chancellor John Silber's argument that the center was vital to the nation's defense. Photonics, said Inouye, is our No. 1 defense priority.Donald Fraser, director of the center, said the new nine-story building will provide research labs, an incubator/prototyping center and instructional facilities. The center's goal, said Fraser, is to parlay expertise, equipment and entrepreneurship into new companies whose success will result in income for the university. The center already maintains commercial partnerships and will offer use of its facilities and faculty to outside entrepreneurs.Architecturally, the building says "Photonics." An 80-foot lighted "Photonics Mast" on the southwest facade next to the Massachusetts Turnpike will identify the building to travelers, while lighting of the center's entry utilizes 400 feet of fiber optic cable.