AIP | Matters
-- -- July 29, 2013
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Fred Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

Washington gridlock on NASA funding

The Lunar Landing Research Facility at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and 22 other astronauts trained at this facility. The base was modeled with fill dirt to resemble the moon's surface. Credit: NASA

Two weekends ago I was driving by the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. During the Apollo program in the 1960s, much of the training and testing for actually descending to the moon and landing on it took place at Langley. Driving by there today, you can't fail to notice a towering steel relic that was designed, built and used for only a few years to carry out the critical preparation for that essential stage of the mission: the 250-foot-high Lunar Landing Research Facility, now a national historic landmark. That same weekend was the 44th anniversary of the first moon landing. I wondered how long that structure would be standing as a monument to this history-making adventure.

Most US citizens are very proud of NASA's achievements, from the first manned space flight in the 1960s to last summer's robotic landing of the Mars Curiosity rover and its first panoramic photos of the large, desolate crater into which it made a perfect landing. NASA's funded ventures generate good reading for us all, whether it's through the general press, such as last month's feature article in National Geographic or through the scientific press, such as the June feature article in Science magazine about the 1977 vintage craft Voyager and its approach to the detectable outer reaches of the solar system.

AIP and its Member Societies have been closely watching the recent debates over the reauthorization of funding for NASA. Recently the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee passed on a party-line vote a reauthorization bill for NASA for the next two years. (See FYI #121.) While this bill does not provide actual funding, it would set, if signed into law, important policy and spending limits.

The party line vote on this bill was unfortunate as it provides yet another signal of the deep-seated disagreements on Capitol Hill about future federal spending. There is a wide gap between what the two parties feel the federal government should spend in the fiscal year that starts on October 1 for all programs, including those of NASA. Congress goes on its summer recess at the end of this week and will not return until September, with very few legislative days left to arrive at any compromise. An agreement is unlikely to be struck, meaning further rounds of stop-gap funding that will continue at FY 2012 levels, lowered by another mandatory reduction of funding. Federal science agencies and the researchers supported by them will again be in limbo.

We couldn't run AIP this way, and we shouldn't run our government like this. Everyone knows we have a problem, but no one really knows how to solve it. The test structure I drove by at Langley is evidence that our government knows how to conquer significant challenges if everyone works toward a common goal and the common good. We need some of that same sense of community that worked so well more than 44 years ago to get our government back on track.

Physics Resource Matters

AIP Publishing at EMC

EMC 55th

The 55th Electronic Materials Conference was held June 26-28 on the campus of Notre Dame University in South Bend, IN. Journal Manager Dave Baker attended and represented the Journal of Applied Physics (JAP), Applied Physics Letters, and APL Materials. While there, he spoke with researchers studying materials for thermionics, solar cells, graphene, and printed circuitry and invited them to submit their best research to the journals. JAP was a main focus of the meeting, and readers will soon see a Special Topic arise from Baker's efforts in South Bend.

Physics Resource Matters

Career Network joins IEEE Computer Society at Interop

PTCN at IEEE

Enjoying a meal together after exhibiting at Interop, from the left: IEEECS staff Sandy Brown, Brian Kirk, Ted Rozolis, Debbie Sims, AIP's Justin Stewart, and Marian Anderson.

Career Network (CN) worked with network partner IEEE Computer Society (IEEECS) at Interop Las Vegas 2013, an annual gathering of over 13,000 business technology professionals.

The IEEECS Jobs board, a CN-managed site since 2008, was promoted at the IEEECS exhibit to provide an overview of the job site to meeting participants. CN staff chatted with job seekers and encouraged them to post resumes and search jobs on the site. Dozens of job posting leads were generated at the booth and by meeting informally with other exhibitors.

IEEECS Jobs is CN's fastest growing site, with revenue up an astounding 428% in the first five months of 2013 vs. the same period in 2012.

Career Network participates in discussion of employment websites

PTCN at Boxwood

Career Network's Justin Stewart with fellow panelist Dianne Vance (ASCE).

Career Network’s Justin Stewart represented AIP as a panelist at an idea exchange with other association professionals about their online job sites. Hosted by Boxwood Technology (CN’s job board platform provider) in Herndon, VA, the event, titled “Achieving Career Center Objectives in Today’s Association Environment,” featured six other panelists. Attendees learned from each other about how to best market and improve their online job board services. AIP Career Network was commended for its forward-thinking, networked approach to the job board business, enhancing the benefits of partner participation.

Listen to the full audio for this event, including Stewart’s participation at the Boxwood website.

Coming Up

July 29-30

  • MMM Conference (College Park, MD)

Tuesday, July 30

  • Melville staff: 2013 Marcum Workplace Challenge (Jones Beach, NY)

Wednesday, July 31

  • Brown bag lunch. Daniel Golombek, astronomer and SPS/ΕΠΕ manager of membership and leadership will speak about “The impact of the Hubble Space Telescope,” 12 p.m. (College Park, MD)

August 4-8

  • AAPM 2013 Annual Meeting (Indianapolis, IA)

Tuesday, August 6

  • SPS Interns Closing Program (College Park, MD)
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