LOOK BACK AT 2004: FYI begins the new year by looking back at notable science policy developments and memorable quotations from the previous year.
AIP MEMBER SOCIETIES ON SPACE SCIENCE: An American Physical Society Task Force on NASA Funding for Astrophysics warned that the ultimate cost of President Bush's plan to return humans to the Moon and send them to Mars may delay or damage many of the space science community's highest priority missions, and no current mechanism exists "to limit the potential deleterious impact [of the exploration initiative] on other aspects of NASA's missions." The American Astronomical Society issued a statement supporting the conclusion of a National Research Council panel that a shuttle mission is the best option for servicing the Hubble Space Telescope.
DOD BASIC RESEARCH: A National Academies committee looked into concerns that some DOD funding targeted for basic research (category 6.1) was being used for applied purposes, but it found "no evidence of significant misapplication of basic research funding."
PRESIDENTIAL S&T NOMINATIONS: Energy Secretary-Designate Samuel Bodman had a smooth confirmation hearing, and has now been confirmed by the Senate. At the hearing, Bodman spoke supportively of the role of science at the department. Presidential appointments to top S&T positions and to federal S&T advisory committees were the topics addressed in a National Academies report released before the November 2004 election.
NEW EDUCATION INITIATIVE: In a recent speech, President Bush announced a $1.5 billion proposal to extend testing and accountability requirements to the nation's high schools. Among other elements, his plan would include funding for teacher preparation and teacher incentives, but much of the money would come from existing programs. Bush also again proposed fencing off some Education Department Math and Science Partnership funding for improving secondary math instruction; last year's attempt to do so failed in Congress.
TSUNAMI AND EARTHQUAKE PROGRAMS: American Geophysical Union President John Orcutt testified at a House hearing on the Administration's plan to expand the tsunami warning system. A Senate hearing will soon follow. In related news, before concluding its work last year, the 108th Congress reauthorized the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program and shifted the leading role from FEMA to NIST.