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By Tawanda W. Johnson
Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy
Federally funded high energy research has led to applications such as border nuclear detection tools.
President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request continues the slow erosion of the nation’s research capacity at a time when the rest of the world is becoming increasingly competitive. Operating under the budget constraints of last year’s Ryan-Murray agreement, however, American Physical Society (APS) recognizes that the White House had little room to make significant increases to science programs the president has consistently touted.
Nonetheless, APS strongly urges Congress, in a bipartisan fashion, to add funding to science accounts that suffered significant reductions in the president’s requests. Those accounts include high energy physics and fusion energy sciences in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. From MRIs to new cancer and heart valve treatments to X-rays to detect contraband in cargo ports, tools of high energy physics play important roles in the lives of Americans. Moreover, fusion energy research, underpinned by plasma science, has greatly improved semiconductor manufacturing and the development of computer chips, among other technologies.
Michael Lubell, APS director of public affairs, notes that young scientists are increasingly looking for opportunities abroad to pursue their careers because they see Europe and Asia making large investments in research at a time when the United States is scaling back. “The rest of the world has caught up with us,” he said, “and many U.S. policymakers have been slow to recognize the existential threat that competition poses to the future American economy.”
Following the 2014 elections, APS calls on Congress and the White House to strike a bipartisan agreement that will allow the U.S. to reassert its traditional role as the world’s leader in discovery and innovation and by so doing secure the nation’s future economy.
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