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
LABOR-HHS-EDUCATION APPROPRIATIONS: When the Labor-HHS- Education appropriations bill was passed on December 19, the pre- existing $250 million Eisenhower Professional Development set- aside to improve science and math teaching was eliminated. The only Education Department program now targeted specifically toward science and math, the new Math and Science Partnerships, received an FY 2002 appropriation of $12.5 million. The two physicists in Congress, Reps. Vern Ehlers (R-MI) and Rush Holt (D-NJ), took to the House floor to ensure that science teaching was still a high priority to Congress. Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee chairman Ralph Regula responded that the appropriators "consider math and science teacher training to be an important part of preparing our students for the future," and "intend that, at a minimum, the current level of effort in science and math development [estimated at $375 million in FY 2001] be maintained." Also in the Labor-HHS-Education bill, the recently- created NIH National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering received $112 million for FY 2002.
MARBURGER ON U.S. SCIENCE: "First, this administration is determined not to let terrorism deflect America from its trajectory of world leadership in science," stated OSTP Director John Marburger in a December speech on the impact to science of the war on terrorism. While noting that "science and engineering have critical roles to play in the war on terrorism," he assured listeners that "science has its own intrinsic imperative and this nation will continue to pursue it." In a January address to the American Astronomical Society, Marburger emphasized the administration's commitment to program management and performance measures for science as well as other federal programs. He commented, "I want to state clearly...that, despite its apparent impracticality, the administration values discovery- oriented science, and aims to continue to support the grant quest for knowledge about the universe at the largest and smallest scales. But it also understands that the same technology that makes this quest so exciting today has created unprecedented opportunities for nearly every other field of science.... In view of this embarrassment of scientific riches, the processes of choice are paramount."
COMPARISON OF FUNDING OUTCOMES: A comparison of the FY 2002 funding outcomes for selected science programs shows that most received increases, although the physics-related programs within DOE's Office of Science remained virtually flat.
OUTLOOK FOR DOE SCIENCE PROGRAMS: In a January 3 letter, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham agreed to explore a renewal of U.S. participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a proposed international burning plasma experiment. Also, a DOE/NSF advisory group on long-range planning for U.S. high-energy physics released its 20-year "road map" for the field. The report's highest priority is support for full U.S. participation in, and possible hosting of, a new international high-energy, high-luminosity linear particle collider, estimated to cost $5-7 billion.