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
DOE ADVISORY COMMITTEES MEET: The Director of DOE's Office of Science, Raymond Orbach, spoke recently to the advisory committees for Basic Energy Sciences, Nuclear Sciences, and High Energy Physics. Among other topics, he discussed the effects of ten years of flat budgets on DOE science, a series of "Occasional Papers" his office is preparing on important issues in S&T, and a long-term Strategic Plan for his office. The strategic planning effort would involve prioritization of over 50 major facilities projects that have been recommended, including the Rare Isotope Accelerator for nuclear physics and the Next Linear Collider for high energy physics.
FY 2003 FUNDING BILLS DELAYED TILL JANUARY: The 107th Congress left town with 11 of the 13 FY 2003 appropriations bills still unfinished and programs operating at FY 2002 levels until mid-January. It is hoped that the 108th Congress will be able to complete the FY 2003 appropriations process before receiving President Bush's budget request for FY 2004, but many unresolved conflicts remain.
PROFILE OF S&E WORKFORCE: The National Science Board's latest compilation of information on the U.S. R&D enterprise, "Science and Engineering Indicators - 2002," provides recent data on the size and composition of the nation's science and engineering workforce. It also discusses implications of the aging of the S&E workforce, and looks at projected job growth in S&E fields.
NSF REAUTHORIZATION BILL PASSED: Before departing for the year, Congress passed legislation (H.R. 4664) authorizing a doubling of the NSF budget over five years. Other provisions of the bill call for an annual plan for Research and Related Activities funding, a prioritization process for Major Research Instrumentation, and several provisions to improve science and math education and to encourage students to pursue careers in S&T fields or in science or math teaching.
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS PRAISE NSF REAUTHORIZATION: The NSF doubling bill was praised by many Members of Congress. "The funding authorized by H.R. 4664 will also begin to address the growing imbalance in federal support for fundamental research in the physical sciences and engineering relative to the biomedical fields," stated House Science Committee Ranking Minority Member Rep. Ralph Hall (D-TX). "This is a serious matter because, for any field of science, progress is dependent on advances made in other fields."
CONGRESSIONAL FELLOWSHIP DEADLINE APPROACHING: AIP and APS are now seeking applicants for their Congressional Science Fellowship programs, which enable scientists to spend a year working for a congressional committee or in a Member's personal office. Interested readers should visit http://www.aip.org/pubinfo for more information on these opportunities and how to apply.