APS News

Washington Dispatch

A bimonthly update from the APS Office of Public Affairs


ISSUE: Science Research Budgets

Congress has begun consideration of the President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2008, which begins October 1. While no appropriations bills have been marked up as of press time, the House and Senate have sent positive signals for science research funding through their respective Budget Resolutions.  
 
The Budget Resolution, which sets non-binding spending goals and contains a cap for federal discretionary spending, provided funding for the $1.2 billion in increases requested by the President for the Department of Energy Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It provided an additional $450 million for scientific research and education. The “Sense of the House” section of the Resolution states that the “resolution will put us on the path toward doubling funding for the National Science Foundation, basic research in the physical sciences across all agencies, and collaborative research partnerships; and toward achieving energy independence through the development of clean and sustainable alternative energy technologies.”
 
In its original form, the Senate Budget Resolution did not provide sufficient funding for the President’s requested increases for DOE Science, NSF, and the NIST Labs. Senators Bingaman (D-NM) and Alexander (R-TN) offered an amendment to provide an addition $1 billion for the requested increases and other science and math education and research measures. The amendment passed overwhelmingly by a 97-1 vote. Conferees are reconciling the differences between the House and Senate resolutions.
 
The House began marking up its appropriations bills in May; the Senate will do so in June. See AAAS's website to track the progress.


ISSUE: Nuclear Forensics Study

The APS Panel on Public Affairs and the AAAS have established a study group on nuclear forensics technology and techniques. The chair is Michael May, Emeritus Director of Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. Other members of the group include Al Carnesale, Phil Coyle, Jay Davis, Bill Dorland, Bill Dunlop, Steve Fetter, Alex Glaser, Ian Hutcheon, Don Kerr, Francis Slakey, & Benn Tannenbaum. The first panel meeting will be held this summer, with the report scheduled to be completed early next year.


ISSUE: Nuclear Workforce Study

The APS Panel on Public Affairs has established a study group to examine the status of the United States Nuclear Workforce. Sekazi Mtingwa, from MIT, will chair the study. Other members of the group include Ruth Howes, William Magwood, Darlene Hoffman, Andrew Klein, Lynne Fairobent, Allen Sessoms, Marc Ross, and Carol Berrigan. The first panel meeting is scheduled to be held this summer, with site visits planned for August and September. A report is slated to be completed early next year.


ISSUE: Science Education and School Boards

Congressional and Executive Branch Science Fellows will have the opportunity to attend a workshop on how to get involved with school boards, July 16th at the AAAS. The workshop will provide materials on how school boards function, how members are elected or selected, and how scientists can become effective participants. Those interested in attending the workshop should contact Francis Slakey at slakey@aps.org.


Log on to the APS Public Affairs website for more information.

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Contributing Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff