The Exchange Rate March 26, 2008Posted by gordonwatts in physics life, science, USA.
As I write this the exchange rate is about $1.54 US to one euro. This will probably come out the middle of next week – no telling what it will be then.
When I moved over here on July 1 the dollar was $1.35 US (see Yahoo! Finance).
Even though France is helping out by paying me a per-diem over here, it is paid in constant dollars. Darn.
Our graduate students and post-docs over here are in the same boat. They are also paid in constant dollars. It is worse for them, of course, as they are paid less than I am and so have less of a cushion to fall back on (I don’t even want to talk about what has happened to my savings account during the stay over here!).
Indeed, we just had to raise the student’s battle pay in order to account for the exchange rate difference. Where does this money come from? Our grant, of course. To supplement the grant so that it can accommodate these increases we are asking for extra cash, of course, but everyone doing physics over in Europe is in the same boat and there just isn’t much extra money in the various funding agencies coffers after the last budget battle.
I don’t see the dollar coming down soon. I keep hoping it will plateau. This latest turn-around is, I think, only temporary. But it is definitely cutting into our ability to send people over to Europe, and we do science with people – less people, less science. It started with a small fraction of bad loans, which is slowly claiming more and more people – and now spreading out from the housing sector to the financial sector and… to the science sector. If there is such a sector!
BTW – when the insurance adjuster dropped by we talked a bit about the financial crisis in the US. He said it was a scandal: “Why haven’t you guys caught the people responsible?”