WORLD YEAR OF PHYSICS: A resolution passed by the House recognizes 2005, the centennial of several groundbreaking papers by Albert Einstein, as the World Year of Physics.
S&T IN POLICYMAKING: On July 21, a National Academies committee discussed how to ensure that the U.S. government receives the best scientific and technical advice through the federal advisory committee structure. Reps. Vern Ehlers (R-MI) and Henry Waxman (D- CA) expressed differing opinions on the topic. In related news, during consideration of an appropriations bill, Rep. Rush Holt (D- NJ) was unsuccessful in offering an amendment to restore some of the capability of the defunct Office of Technology Assessment by enhancing the budget for the General Accountability Office.
FEDERAL ACTIONS IN SCIENCE EDUCATION: In FY05 spending bills, House appropriators proposed an 80% increase over current funding for the Education Department's Math and Science Partnership program, but a 40% cut to the identically-named program within NSF. Both on Capitol Hill and within the Administration, programs to enhance science education and the scientific workforce have recently been proposed.
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT OF ACADEMIC S&E: Federal support of science and engineering activities at academic institutions reached a new high of $24.4 billion in FY02, according to an NSF "InfoBrief." The Department of Health and Human Services was by far the largest provider of academic S&E obligations, followed by NSF, DOD, and NASA.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: A National Academies panel is reviewing U.S. policies toward foreign S&E graduate students. First-time, full-time S&E graduate enrollment among foreign-born temporary visa holders declined between 2001 and 2002, indicating that post- September 11, 2001 policies may have "adversely affected" foreign student enrollment.
MANUFACTURING BILL: A House-passed bill to strengthen the nation's manufacturing sector would authorize increased funding for NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership program and in-house laboratories, and establish several grant program to assist manufacturers.
WHITE HOUSE R&D PRIORITIES: A memo to federal agency heads, laying out the Administration's FY06 R&D priorities, cites homeland security as the highest priority, followed by networking and information technology R&D, and nanotechnology.
BASIC ENERGY SCIENCES MEETING: The staff and advisory committee members for DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) spent a day and a half meeting trying to ensure that the office is staying on top of trends and opportunities in the energy sciences.