FYI THIS MONTH: MARCH 2005
HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN WASHINGTON IMPACTING THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY FROM FYI, THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS BULLETIN OF SCIENCE POLICY NEWS
Audrey T. Leath, Richard M. Jones
fyithismonth@aip.org
NEW SECRETARY OF STATE: Secretary Condoleezza Rice commented on openness in science, science as a diplomatic tool, and ITER at a State Department Town Meeting.

NSF BUDGET: Support for NSF and dismay at the minimal increase in its FY06 budget request were expressed by key Senate appropriators and the new chairmen of NSF's House appropriations and authorization subcommittees. AIP has signed onto a statement calling for greater FY06 funding for NSF.

DOD BUDGET: AIP has also endorsed a statement urging "a renewed commitment to...basic science" at DOD, while a Senate hearing highlighted hard choices between current defense requirements and future needs.

INTERNATIONAL ISSUES: Recent reforms have improved the visa application process for foreign students and scientists. However, a group of business, scientific and academic organizations recently released a list of benchmarks that indicate a continuing erosion of U.S. world leadership in S&T.

FY06 REQUEST: Both Republicans and Democrats on the House Science Committee agreed that "the proposed funding for basic research is insufficient." Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) warned about the tight budget situation in a recent speech and warned at a hearing that "the outlook for the outyears seems to be more of the same." A number of other Members, including Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Rep. Vern Ehlers (R- MI), have indicated support for robust science funding.

DOE BUDGET: Another statement signed by AIP calls for an FY06 funding increase of 7% for DOE's Office of Science. The Office's Director, Ray Orbach, appeared before both House and Senate appropriators to discuss the request for his office.

WOMEN IN PHYSICS: AIP's Statistical Research Center reports that the major "leak in the pipeline" for women in physics and astronomy occurs between high school and a bachelor's degree.

NUCLEAR WEAPONS: The National Nuclear Security Administration Director, Linton Brooks, testified at a House hearing on the Administration's intentions regarding nuclear weapons development and readiness. House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Hobson (R- OH) has called for "a thoughtful and open debate on the role of nuclear weapons" in national security.

HUBBLE TELESCOPE: A new American Astronomical Society statement suggests that the space science community should evaluate the relative priorities of servicing the Hubble Telescope versus other important projects.