Friday, 17 Mar 95 Washington, DC
1. ENERGY AND COMMERCE DEPARTMENTS ARE PUT ON THE
Yesterday, the House Budget Committee voted 24-11
to lop $100B off discretionary spending over the next five years. Where
would the money come from? Committee Chairman John Kasich (R-OH),
Republican budget guru, supplied a 45 page list of "illustrative" cuts:
Under the category of "Discarding Needless Bureaucracy,"
DOE is told to prepare itself for termination. Kasich figures that would
save $4B over five years--over half of it ($2.3B) from cuts in Energy
Supply R&D. Specific "technology subsidies" that are targeted include
solar and renewable energy, ITER and ANS. Termination of DOC was
under the category of "Attacking Corporate
Welfare." According to the proposal, the Government has a role in basic
research, but should not be engaged in applied research.
2. IS THIS PART OF A PLAN TO CREATE A "DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE"?
Back in November, there were predictions that Republicans would have
their own FY 96 budget in January (WN 25 Nov 94). (It was easy for Mr.
Kasich to make fantasy budgets when he was on the minority side, but
when you start using live ammunition it gets harder.) When it finally
appears in May, it's expected to call for creation of a Department of
Science. That would provide a place to put the science pieces of Energy
and Commerce, as well as NSF and NASA. Robert Walker, House
Science Committee chair, plugged the idea in his first press conference
(WN 16 Dec 94).
3. "DOS" HASN'T BEEN CREATED YET--AND ALREADY IT'S GETTING
Jerry Lewis (R-CA), chair of the House VA/HUD/IA Appropriations
Subcommittee gave NSF Director Neal Lane a homework assignment:
figure out how to run NSF on 20% less than you asked for.
4. "THERE IS A PERCEPTION THAT THE SMITHSONIAN IS INFECTED WITH
THE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS VIRUS,"
according to Sen. Slade Gorton
(R-WA), Interior Appropriations chair. Smithsonian Secretary Michael
Heyman, in an apparent reference to "Science in American
Life" (WN 24 Feb 95), said it has been a learning experience.
"Perhaps there are things we can't meaningfully put on a wall."
5. WILLIAM A. ("WILLY") FOWLER DIED TUESDAY IN PASADENA AT
On his return to Pasadena after learning that he was to share the
1983 Nobel Prize with Chandrasekhar for work on nucleosynthesis,
Willy was met at the airport by a Cal Tech brass band. Without
hesitation, he stepped up and began conducting the music. It was a
characteristic impulse. He considered the Nobel to be an award for the
work of many, but no one ever took more genuine delight in the honor.
He went to Cal Tech in 1933 as a graduate student and remained there
for 60 years. His theoretical work was backed up by his experimental
work at Cal Tech's Kellogg Radiation Lab. A Fellow of the American
Physical Society, he served as president in 1976. Few people have ever
lived life more enthusiastically.
THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY (Note: Opinions are the author's
and are not necessarily shared by the APS, but they should be.)