There were many science policy and budget developments affecting the
physical sciences community in 2005. The following is a brief review
of these events, sorted by the month in which the FYI was released.
Readers wishing further information should consult the 2005 FYI archive
by the FYI number cited.
JANUARY: A National Research Council committee concluded that
only a "small percentage" of defense basic research funding
had been redirected toward non-basic S&T programs; it urged the
Defense Department to support more "unfettered exploration"
in its basic research program (#9). Energy Secretary-Designate Samuel
Bodman told senators at his confirmation hearing that he hoped to be
viewed as a strong supporter of physical sciences in the Administration
FEBRUARY: President Bush requested almost flat funding for R&D
in his FY 2006 budget request (#15). Office of Science Director Ray
Orbach warned that budget constraints "are not going to go away
in 2007 [and] it's going to be a difficult four years" (#25).
MARCH: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called science a
great diplomatic tool, and spoke of ITER as "an important project"
that needed to achieve a negotiations breakthrough in the location of
the facility (#26). Senate appropriations subcommittee chairman Christopher
Bond (R-MO) criticized the federal government for not adequately supporting
the physical sciences (#27). A senior level innovation task force warned
that America's S&T leadership was at risk (#32). The first hearing
of the newly-established House Science, State, Justice and Commerce
Appropriations Subcommittee demonstrated strong support for S&T
(#36). The House Science Committee criticized the Administration's FY
2006 R&D request and proposed program changes (#45).
APRIL: House Science Committee members raised many questions
about NASA's vision for space exploration (#46). National Academy of
Sciences President Bruce Alberts urged support for the teaching of evolution
(#49). Michael Griffin was confirmed as the new NASA Administrator (#57).
MAY: More than 2/3s of senators signed a letter in support of
a 3.2% increase for the DOE Office of Science (#63). House appropriations
subcommittee chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) urged President Bush to triple
federal basic research and development funding over the next decade
(#64). In the House, 167 Members signed a letter supporting higher NSF
funding than that which President Bush requested (#66). This action
was followed by a letter signed by 121 representatives supporting significantly
higher funding for the DOE Office of Science (#68). Senate appropriators
and new NASA Administrator Michael Griffin found common ground on the
agency's current agenda and future vision (#69). House appropriators
took issue with the Administration's nuclear weapons initiatives (#73).
The Science Committee challenged NASA's Earth Science program plans
(#79). A fall S&T conference in Washington was announced (#80).
The House approved plans for interim civilian nuclear waste storage
and reprocessing (#82).
JUNE: The National Research council released a report on likely
civilian casualties from the use of a "bunker buster" nuclear
weapon (#83). The House rejected a move to cut NSF funding in the proposed
FY 2006 appropriations bill (#92). Senate appropriators drafted a bill
that was more favorable to Administration's nuclear weapons initiatives
(#99), but provided no construction funding for National Ignition Facility
(#100). A decision was made to locate ITER in France (#101). Senate
appropriators took a different approach to nuclear waste reprocessing,
setting the stage for a confrontation with the House (#102).
JULY NASA reauthorization bills moved (#108 and #113). The Administration
released a planning document on FY 2007 R&D priorities (#111). Unprecedented
congressional controversy about global climate change research made
headlines (#112). A shift occurred in Senate thinking about global climate
change with the passage of a sense-of-the-Senate resolution (#114).
AUGUST: A fusion advisory committee questioned the impact of
ITER funding on the domestic fusion program (#117). Hearings demonstrated
little enthusiasm for nuclear fuel reprocessing (#118). President Bush
signed major energy policy legislation (#119). William Jeffrey was confirmed
as the new NIST director (#123). A task force report was released on
the consolidation of the nuclear weapons complex (#127).
SEPTEMBER: DOE officials took steps to lessen the impact of
Hurricane Katrina on the work of affected scientists (#130). The Senate
voted overwhelmingly to support the Advanced Technology Program (#136).
NASA Administrator Griffin described NASA's Exploration Architecture;
congressional reaction was guardedly supportive (#138).
OCTOBER: A Senate hearing demonstrated wide disagreement about
climate change (#142). A trial on Intelligent Design in public schools
began in Pennsylvania (#143). A manufacturing R&D authorization
bill passed House, excluding ATP (#147). Public comment was sought on
an Administration strategic report to reduce greenhouse gases (#150).
NSF released a facility plan (#151). Congress refused to fund "bunker
buster" nuclear weapon research (#152).
NOVEMBER: Two major science organizations disputed Kansas science
education standards relating to the teaching of evolution (#154). A
major report released by the National Academies on U.S. competitiveness
attracted considerable attention on Capitol Hill (#155 and #164). Congress
completed work on NSF, NASA and DOE funding bills (#159, #160 and #163).
A DOE funding bill was completed with a new direction taken on future
nuclear fuel recycling (#161). The same DOE bill provided construction
funding for the National Ignition Facility and no funding for a modern
pit facility (#162). The NIST funding bill was completed which provided
ATP money (#165). House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert
(R-NY) warned of the need for an ITER funding plan and threatened to
kill the project without such a plan (#167). Senators expressed concern
about the impact of funding cuts on the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider
and Jefferson Laboratory (#168).
DECEMBER: The National Summit on Competitiveness was held in
Washington (#172). A National Research Council report was released on
science in the context of space exploration (#173). The FY 2006 DOD
appropriations bill was completed (#175). A federal judge ruled that
Intelligent Design should not offered as an alternative to evolution
in a Pennsylvania school district (#177).