Friday, 11 Feb 1994 Washington, DC
1. THE CLINTON BUDGET FOR FY 95: HOW WELL DID SCIENCE REALLY DO?
Congress is asked to increase spending for civilian and military
R&D by 4%. Sounds pretty good in a year of cuts and caps, but it
would represent the smallest percentage of the Gross Domestic
Product spent on R&D since 1958, according to Rep. George Brown
(D-CA). Moreover, most of the growth is in technology rather than
research aimed at understanding nature ("understanding" is the
politically correct replacement for "curiosity driven" which is
said to have a frivolous ring to it). The shift from defense R&D
to civilian, promised by the Administration, did not materialize.
2. NIST: AFTER YEARS OF NEGLECT, A WHOPPING 78% INCREASE IN R&D!
And it's all aimed at near-term support for industry. Advanced
Technology Programs and Manufacturing Extension Partnerships both
would be doubled in a single year by the President's request.
3. NASA: HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT TAKES A CUT; SCIENCE IS UP--A LITTLE.
The Earth Observing System is the big winner; it would increase
by 20% to $1.2B. Rumors notwithstanding, the Cassini Mission to
Saturn and the Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility are both on
track. The only new science program is a fast/cheap replacement
for the vanished Mars Observer. Called the "Mars Surveyor," it
would launch an orbitor in 1996 followed by a series of landers.
4. NSF: RESEARCH WOULD GO UP 8.3%; EDUCATION WOULD INCREASE 2.9%.
But in recent years, Congress has insisted on giving NSF more for
education than it requests and less for research. Continuing the
emphasis on the near term, Computer Science and Engineering would
get a 13.7% increase, while only a 6.1% increase is requested for
Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Materials would go up just
5.3%, due largely to flat funding for Centers; Physics is up 6%.
The big winner is Social Science, up 15% after several bad years.
5. DOE: FUNDAMENTAL SCIENCE RESEARCH WOULD BE CUT BY 14 PERCENT.
The total DOE request is 2.6% below this years appropriation. The
decrease in fundamental science is accounted for by termination
of the SSC, but there is concern that the $180M budgeted for SSC
termination is inadequate. Nuclear Physics is down 14% while
Solar and Renewable Energy is up 14%. Basic Energy Sciences is
down 6% while fusion is up 8%. The budget would provide $27M to
initiate construction of the Advanced Neutron Source. "The goals
of the Department of Energy in FY 95," Secretary O'Leary explained,
"will be to create jobs, reduce emissions, move technology
into the marketplace and increase competitiveness and exports."
6. ON MONDAY, DOE WILL PRESENT THE LAWRENCE AWARD TO YOON CHANG
of Argonne for "Leadership in all aspects of the Integral Fast
Reactor Program, an advanced nuclear energy concept with improved
safety, more efficient use of fuel and less radioactive waste."
Last Monday, the Clinton budget called for terminating the IFRP.