AIP | Matters
-- -- September 16, 2013

Fred Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

Kicking the can

Congress returned from its summer recess last week, no closer to a long-term solution to the nation's fiscal problems than it was earlier this year. With the start of the new fiscal year now only two weeks away, and without a single funding bill having been approved and sent to the President, it now looks like we will again be funding the government on a short-term basis. Once again, the Congress will be kicking the can down the road.

This fiscal uncertainty makes it very difficult for federal agencies supporting research and development to make effective planning decisions. Program managers find it difficult to look ahead because of continuing disagreements about overall FY 2014 federal spending, with a difference of $21 billion between Republicans and Democrats (out of a budget of $988 billion for discretionary programs).

Before Congress left on its summer recess, the House of Representatives was scheduled to consider a funding bill for transportation and housing programs. The House leadership pulled the bill when it became apparent, reports indicate, that there were not enough votes to pass it. Reacting to that decision, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee issued a statement declaring “sequestration—and it’s unrealistic and ill-conceived discretionary cuts—must be brought to an end.”

Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) went on to say, “The House, Senate, and White House must come together as soon as possible on a comprehensive compromise that repeals sequestration, takes the nation off this lurching path from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis, reduces our deficits and debt, and provides a realistic topline discretionary spending level to fund the government in a responsible—and attainable—way.”

Questions about Syria have overtaken what was expected to be a very contentious September as Congress and the Administration struggled to find the “comprehensive compromise” that Chairman Rogers called for. While support for the funding of federal science and technology programs remains strong—one of the few areas that Congress agrees upon—the nation’s research community still faces months of uncertainty. This uncertainty will be experienced by a professor assembling a research team, the manager of a large instrument, and the director of a national laboratory. It raises doubts in the minds of a bright university student about what his or her major should be. It benefits our foreign competitors looking to hire the best talent or to attract the best students.

It’s time for Congress and the Administration to stop kicking the can, and to make the difficult decisions to put our government—and our nation—on a solid foundation.

Physics Resource Matters updated for 2014

Each fall, those contemplating graduate school start looking in earnest for programs that suit their needs. Many who aim to pursue careers in physical sciences and engineering turn to AIP's to inform and streamline their search. In the just-released 2014 edition, prospective students will find information for programs in the United States and several abroad.

This latest edition reflects AIP's commitment to serve the global physical scientific research and education community. According to the AIP Statistical Research Center's reports on physics and astronomy department enrollment and degree data, close to half of the graduate students currently enrolled in US programs come from outside the country. As internationalization plays an increasingly important role in the ranking of universities and degree programs, many non-US graduate programs are stepping up their own efforts to recruit more international students. AIP welcomes those physical sciences and engineering departments based in China, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, and Taiwan that have sought as a global platform to reach out to prospective students.

Inside Science intensifies its social media efforts

Inside Science facebook pageThe Inside Science team has stepped up its social media efforts in effort to make its Facebook and Twitter feeds more desirable to those who want to tap into the very best in science news. Through these outlets, staff highlight Inside Science articles, videos, blog entries, and columns, as well as stand-out content from other science news outlets. Since the beginning of the summer, Inside Science’s Facebook page has brought over 30,000 page views to Inside Science, many of which are from unique visitors. More than 3,000 fans come from over 20 countries. In addition, Inside Science has started to use YouTube to supplement its news articles with multimedia content. A video published in conjunction with the recent story “Insect Jumps Powered By Mechanical ‘Gears” had more than 3,000 views within the first 24 hours.

Physics Resource Matters

Rutherford talk posterEvening talk on Rutherford

Historian John Campbell of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand is coming to ACP for a special evening lecture, entitled, “Rutherford’s Path to the Nuclear Atom,” on September 24 at 6 pm. Pizza and soft drinks will be served. This event is open to the public; staff are welcome to attend.

Coming Up

September 17

  • First aid training (Melville)

September 17-19

  • 2013 PT Sales & Marketing meeting (Linthicum Heights, MD)

September 19

  • Learning Together. John Dabney of McDermott, Will & Emery will discuss intellectual property and the publishing industry. (Melville)

September 19-22

  • SPS Executive Committee and Council meetings (Crystal City, VA, and College Park, MD)

September 24

  • Historian John Campbell of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand will give a talk, “Rutherford’s Path to the Nuclear Atom,” at 6 pm at ACP. (College Park)

September 25-26

  • Individual counseling sessions with TIAA-CREF (College Park)

September 26

  • Investment Advisory Committee meeting (Chicago, IL)

September 27

  • ISTV Underwriters meeting (College Park, MD)

October 2

  • ACP Blood Drive

October 6-10

  • OSA 97th Annual Meeting & Exhibit (FiO) (Orlando, FL)

October 7

  • Nobel Prize in Physics Celebration, an AIP Development event (Bethesda, MD)

October 8

  • 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics announced