ISSUE: RESEARCH FUNDING
Responding in part to more than 6,600 letters generated by APS’s Contact Congress campaign, 68 senators sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to the Senate Energy Appropriations Subcommittee supporting a 3.2% increase in the budget for the Department of Energy Office of Science, as opposed to the 3.8% cut proposed by the Bush Administration. Over 100 House members have signed a similar letter supporting a "significant increase" for the Office of Science, and over 165 have signed a letter requesting an 11% increase for the National Science Foundation. Congressional appropriators, however, are working under tight constraints and the outlook for research budgets remains uncertain.
The first indications of how science will fare in FY 2006 will come as appropriations bills are drafted in May and June. But Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), chairman of a newly formed appropriations subcommittee responsible for NSF, NIST and NASA funding, is also turning an eye toward future budgets. He recently wrote to President Bush expressing concern that current levels of federal investment in scientific research are too low to ensure continued US economic leadership and suggesting that we make a "bold commitment to invest in the future of our country by tripling the innovation budget."
ISSUE: ENERGY AND NATIONAL SECURITY
The APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) has issued a report, "Nuclear Power and Proliferation Resistance: Securing Benefits, Limiting Risk." Global electricity demand is expected to increase by more than 50 percent by 2025 and nuclear power is a primary carbon-free energy source for meeting this extensive global energy expansion. At the same time, the technologies used in peaceful nuclear power programs overlap with those used in the production of fissionable material for nuclear weapons. This report examines technological steps that the US can take to enhance the proliferation resistance of nuclear power systems. Roger Hagengruber of the University of New Mexico chaired the study. To view the report, please go to http://www.aps.org/policy/reports/popa-reports/.
ISSUE: CREATION, INTELLIGENT DESIGN, AND EVOLUTION
The APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) has identified the Creationism/ID debate as an issue of concern for the Society. To address the issue, a subcommittee of POPA members, chaired by Robert Eisenstein, was formed to research the issue and make recommendations at the October POPA meeting.
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Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff