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Budget Cuts not just HEP January 11, 2008

Posted by gordonwatts in politics, science.
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I’ve been reading various blogs that mention the budget cuts. I’m very happy to see many people complaining about the budget cuts. But all of them are HEP bloggers – and this leaves the impression that only HEP got cut (and I think some people leaving comments picked up on that). This, sadly, is not the case. For example, contained in a letter from the HEP section of the APS is the following paragraph:

Congress wrapped up the Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08) budget just before adjourning for the year. The budget, which wipes out $1 billion in increases approved last summer for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE Science) and the NIST laboratories, does irreparable damage to science and abandons the Innovation/Competitiveness initiatives of Congress and the Administration.

NIST, for example, has little or nothing to do with HEP. This is a global science problem. It is just the set of blogs I tend to watch are HEP oriented (they don’t call the blogo-sphere the echo chamber for nothing!). It is the case, however, the fusion physics and HEP were cut the hardest, however.

And then, there was something I was confused about. I had thought that science funding was cut 1% across the board. Turns out that is incorrect. DOE got a 2.5% increase, but after you factor in inflation that is the same as a 1% cut. The NSF, however, only got a 1.2% increase — so all of it will be hit hard when you factor in inflation.

Another aspect I didn’t even realize was pointed out to me when I visited the Subway sandwich store near Fermilab last week for some owl-shift-snacks. The guy working there said “what if all those people fired eat at Subway?”

There is an ongoing letter writing campaign to get congress to reconsider the science cuts – if you feel so inclined, please send a letter in!

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