FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FYI This Month: October 2010

Richard M. Jones
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HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN WASHINGTON IMPACTING THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY FROM FYI, THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS BULLETIN OF SCIENCE POLICY NEWS

New NASA Reauthorization Bill

Negotiations between the House and Senate failed to arrive at a compromise version of a NASA reauthorization bill.  With time running out, the House accepted the Senate’s legislation, and sent to the President a three-year reauthorization bill that enacts major components of his new space policy. 

NASA Reauthorization Act: Overview, Earth Science, and Space Science

A 22-page report by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation explains important provisions in S. 3729 that set NASA policy for the next three years. 

Senate Confirms New National Science Foundation Director

The Senate confirmed Subra Suresh as the new director of the National Science Foundation.  Suresh was the Dean of the School of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  His term is six years. 

Report Warns Outlook for American Competitiveness Has Deteriorated

Five years after “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future” was released, a new report concludes “the outlook for America to compete for quality jobs has further deteriorated over the past five years.” 

House Science Committee Holds Hearing on New Competitiveness Report

While there are differences between Members of the House Science and Technology Committee over federal R&D policies and budgets, there is uniform agreement that America’s competitiveness is at risk. 

National Science Board Issues Report on “Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators”

A new report concludes “the U.S. education system too frequently fails to identify and develop our most talented and motivated students who will become the next generation of innovators.”

Appropriators to Decide on Key Isotope to Fuel Space Probes

There is continuing disagreement about providing funding to the Department of Energy to initiate the production of a key isotope that powers NASA’s planetary robotic missions. 

American Task Force Calls for Funding of Basic Research; UK Budget Plan Maintains Science Funding

The Task Force on American Innovation urged the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to provide robust funding for basic research and STEM education.  In a parallel development, the Government in the United Kingdom announced it would maintain science funding at current levels for the next four years. 

MIT Study on Nuclear Energy

A new study provides the basis for the rethinking of long-held assumptions about reactor fuel, reactor design, and the disposition of spent nuclear fuel.

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
rjones@aip.org
301-209-3095