Forecast for science funding: a little hazy with a chance of sun
As I discussed in last week's issue of AIP Matters, it has long been recognized that science is the basis for a strong national economy and high standard of living. In response, federal science funding has grown (especially for biomedical research), although not at the rate that many experts have urged. The Bush administration had a 10-year target to double physical sciences funding, but disagreements over larger budget issues prevented this goal from being realized.
There are promising signs that we may see significant increases in federal funding for the physical sciences. An Obama transition document identified, under the heading "Improve American Competitiveness," the objective to double federal funding for basic research over 10 years (for more, see FYI 2008 #115).
The first signs of what the new administration and the new Congress have in mind are found in the outlines of an economic stimulus bill that should be on President Obama's desk by mid-February. Last week, key committees in the House of Representatives started their consideration of a massive stimulus bill. As first outlined, the legislation would provide the National Science Foundation an additional $3 billion. The Department of Energy would receive an additional $1.9 billion for basic physical sciences research. The list of other federal science agencies that would receive new funding is long, and the amount of money involved impressive (for further details, see FYI #4).
The old saying "don't count your chickens before they're hatched" applies equally well to funding bills considered by Congress. The stimulus bill has not gone before the full House, and the Senate still has to release its legislation—then the two pieces of legislation must be aligned and approved before being sent to the president. The outlook is promising for this bill and future funding measures. The Obama administration and Congress recognize that strengthening the American economy requires both providing good-paying jobs for today and building the foundation for millions of future high-technology jobs by supporting basic research.
What's in a name?
Chinese, Japanese, and Korean authors who publish in the AIP Journals may now choose to have their names published in their own language alongside the English versions. This will help in disambiguating author names that are identical when translated into English. All authors who wish to participate must include the Chinese, Japanese, or Korean characters, within their manuscript, upon submission. (Thanks to the American Physical Society for providing detailed instructions for authors; APS has offered this service since December 2007.)
Future scientists' best shot
Science teachers play a critical role in the future of our discipline; it is through them that children become interested, engaged, and eager for scientific discovery. However, a relatively small number of physics and physical sciences teachers actually hold a degree in physics. To close this gap between preparedness shortfalls and instruction expectations, the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), and AIP developed the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) project. With the goal of increasing the number of qualified physics teachers and improving K–8 physical science teacher education, PhysTEC's activities and programs provide teachers with a complete educational experience, from preparation in pedagogy and content to mentoring. In its eighth year, the program has achieved a number of significant accomplishments. Recently, PhysTEC partnered with the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation to produce a video of an outstanding new physics teacher, Mary Lee McJimsey, a PhysTEC teacher from the class of 2006 at Cal Poly (California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo). McJimsey epitomizes the program's ambitions to produce excellent teachers for tomorrow's scientists.
What's your position?
While we may be thankful to work in a comfortable office environment each day, there are some potential physical pitfalls to keep in mind. One of the biggest is your sitting posture as you work at your computer throughout the day. Your workstation setup, which includes your chair, keyboard, mouse, and monitor, can have a huge impact on your health. Take time now to review some healthy computing tips to avoid injury and stay healthy while you work.
Who we are – Accounting (part 1 of 2)
Under the direction of the Treasurer and CFO, the Controller's Office (see the AIP organizational chart, page 35), led by Gigi Swartz, oversees the operations of the accounting and treasury departments. This includes the preparation of the annual budget, and the development and implementation of systems, policies, and procedures to ensure that AIP's accounting records are accurate and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and applicable government regulations.
The managers who report to Gigi are responsible for accounts payable processing, payroll and benefit accounting, fixed assets, accounts receivable and revenue recognition, financial reporting and analysis, internal and external audits, tax preparation and reporting, grant management, financial systems and controls, operating and personnel budgets, Member Society billing, order management billing, e-commerce transactions, cash processing, collections, cash management and investments, and the accounting records for the American Center for Physics (ACP).
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