HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN WASHINGTON IMPACTING THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY FROM FYI, THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS BULLETIN OF SCIENCE POLICY NEWS
Richard M. Jones, Audrey T. Leath
BAKER-HAMILTON REPORT: A report on security lapses at Los Alamos National Laboratory, written by two former congressmen, finds unclear and inconsistent security policies and raises warnings about the morale and productivity of the scientists working there.
EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN DOE SCIENCE FUNDING: Led by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Frank Murkowski (R-AK), a group of 24 senators signed a December 4 letter to President Clinton, urging the White House, in developing a FY 2002 budget, to support a substantial increase for DOE's Office of Science. Even though the incoming Bush Administration will submit its own budget request, a plan by the outgoing administration to raise the budget could help provide momentum for an increase.
RESEARCH MISCONDUCT POLICY: Early this month, after more than four years of discussions, the Clinton Administration issued a final government-wide definition of, and federal policy on, research misconduct.
DEADLINE FOR CONGRESSIONAL FELLOWSHIP APPLICATIONS: January 15 is the deadline for all application materials to be postmarked for both the AIP and APS Congressional Science Fellowship programs. Both societies participate annually, as do OSA and AGU, in this effort, which enables scientists to contribute their technical expertise to policy issues, while learning about the legislative process by working in a congressional office.
INTERNATIONAL MATH AND SCIENCE EDUCATION STUDY: Preliminary results of a new international comparison of eighth-graders in math and science were released on December 5. This Third International Mathematics and Science Study - Repeat (TIMSS-R) allows comparisons of U.S. eighth-graders with comparable eighth- grade students in other countries, U.S. eighth-graders four years ago, and the same cohort of U.S. students as fourth-graders four years ago. The performance of eighth-graders in the U.S. has not changed in four years, and the U.S. students rank just above the international average in both science and math in this comparison.
FINAL FY 2001 APPROPRIATIONS: It took Congress and the White House until December 15 to reach agreement on the final appropriations bills for FY 2001. Included in the final bills was money for the Eisenhower grants program for teacher professional development, which grew by almost fifty percent over its FY 2000 level. Also included was funding for NIST, which fell by about six percent from last year, partly due to a planned decrease in construction funding.
GUIDE FOR POSTDOCS: The National Academies of Science and Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, have put out a guide to "Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience." Intended for institutions, disciplinary societies, funding organizations and advisors as well as postdoctoral scholars, it provides demographic and other information about postdoctoral positions and includes recommendations for enhancing the experience.