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How politics is killing science December 20, 2007

Posted by apetrov in Near Physics, Particle Physics, Physics, Science.

I usually stay away from discussing politics in this blog. However, it appears that current political decisions are very unhealthy for US science. Case in point: current Omnibus bill that the Congress is about to send to the President.

Amazing thing happened: only several months ago, both US Congress and the President were in total accord with increased funding for US physical sciences. National initiatives such as America COMPETES Act were prime examples of the fact that US science and technology research and education are important for healthy development of the Nation. Fastforward to today: the bill that will soon be signed into law assumes ~10% cut to the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy. Funding for ITER is zeroed out – now, this is after all of the international-agreement-signing-at-highest-levels. Funding for ILC is given at the level of $15M (nice, huh? well, not so: those $15M are already spent, so no funding for ILC either), no funding for NOvA (a neutrino experiment at FNAL). University programs are largerly intact (if you can call a 2% reduction of our WSU base grant “intact”) — and this is the only good sign. We learned all of it during our recent DOE site visit (when a DOE oficial visits a University to check on the progress of a research program) two days ago.

Interesting: imagine you are building a house which is financed by a bank. You have a contract with that bank to deliver money for your construction in several installments. Now imagine that the bank decides not to give you one of your installments. What do you? You never work with that bank again, right? Hint? ITER? ILC?

See APS reaction to this here.

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1. Nikita Nikolaev - December 23, 2007

Good analogy at the end.
This isn’t good. Everyone’s pulling out their resources from science and physics in particular. It was UK a few weeks ago, now US. Who’s next?

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