Dec 24, 2007

Sour Grapes?

In addition to the impact of the pit manufacturing mission on science at LANL, that mission is having an effect elsewhere. Senator Domenici's earmarks are being felt at Fermilab in the International Linear Collider project and NOvA experiment, and also at the ITER project.

From yesterday's NY Times Science section, Budget Cuts Will Mean Layoffs at Fermilab:
Some scientists attributed Fermilab’s woes to Congress’s reviving its practice of earmarks that direct agencies to finance projects that would probably not receive money otherwise. In a statement, the American Physical Society said it “notes with some dismay that had Congress applied the same discipline to earmarking as it did last year, the damage to the science and technology enterprise could have been avoided.”

President Bush is expected to sign the spending bill into law.
Yes LANL won the budget battle. Sort of. For another year. But at what cost?
- Anonymous


Anonymous said...

We're the best and the brightest. We deserve Dominici's pork more than Fermilab. After all, *they* don't do plutonium like *we* do plutonium.

John Fleck said...

It's worth noting that, while the Weapons Activity account was essentially flat from 07-08 (in other words, losing ground to inflation), the Office of Science R&D budget rose 5.3 percent and energy research rose 23 percent in the final spending package. The notion that science lost out at the expense of nuclear weapons is not supported by the numbers.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

Then who did Fermilab piss off, to warrant such a large funding cut, John? Given the high quality of science done there, the cuts almost seem punitive.


Anonymous said...

Los Alamos doesn't do science. We just pretend we do science so we can tap into that source of funding, and so we can keep our scientists and engineers from recognizing what they really do for a living--feeding and nurturing a national obsession with weapons of mass destruction and the international abuses we empower ouselves to inflict, as a nation, on the rest of the world because of it. God bless America? Not likely. Heaven have mercy on the Lab for all its greed and arrogance?
Tell it to your priest, minister, bishop or LDS grand wizard if you want, because when it comes to mercy the Lab should receive as much as it has been willing to give others in the past--none! Thus may we reap the harvest we ourselves have sown for others. We are the Potterville of It's A Wonderful Life lore, except in our case the nightmare we created is real. May the world survive the hell we've created.

Anonymous said...

The 12:44PM post is completely
dishonest. Los Alamos does do science. A simple check shows that Los Alamos National Laboratory is one of the top five institutes in the United States in terms of scientific publications and impact. Thousands of people have been trained at
LANL as postdocs, staff members, and students who have gone on to universities all over the world. We have gone over this on the blog time and time again about the basic science that has come out of the lab, such as our work
on HIV, superconductivity, advanced computing, dynamics, continuum modeling.Remember the MacArthur award earlier this year?

The blog is open for people to express there opinions as it should
be, however opinions that are arrived at by ignorance or deliberately ignoring innumerable facts should simply be disregarded for being baseless. The 12:44pm is a just another example of utterly useless post. If the 12:44pm is simply ignorant of what the lab does that they should be ashamed of themselves for making such comments without doing some research first. If the if
12:44pm poster is deliberately ignoring facts than they are a despicable human being.

Anonymous said...

We should enjoy the end of the Domenici era... there will be no savior to the rescue after December next year. LANS will need to learn to manage well or LANL will become extinct.

Anonymous said...

1:53pm: It's probably safe to assume the poster you refer to is simply repeating what they've read here before, without exerting any effort or desire to verify the basis and/or factual content of the comments on the blog. It's actually a scary thought that there are people who read some of the garbage on here (like 12:44) and base their opinion of the lab on it. An anonymous comment is not often a reliable source of fact. Far from it.

The proper response to 12:44 is no response. Remember - don't feed the trolls.

Anonymous said...

"12:44pm poster is...a despicable human being."

For shame, on Christmas Eve, no less.

Anonymous said...

Fermilab has been pushing a bold agenda to save the Tevatron staff, from doom when the LHC at CERN comes online in the coming months. Tevatron has been slated for switch off in 2009, and they have been burning the midnight oil to find the Higgs. However, their pushing of the International Linear Collider for FNAL, even suggesting that they could better the DOEs Office of Science's timeline of 'maybe' 2025 completion,may have been a bold step that went too far. They proposed to start project X, a new linac which was like the intial stages of ILC, that would stand alone and give them a future if ILC dies, and would give them a start at ILC if it doesn't. This may have backfired in the current climate. DOE is still waiting to see return from SNS, RIA hasn't gotten a start, and JLAB has gotten its energy upgrade. They can hardly afford to run RHIC at BNL past year, so it isn't hard to imagine that they lopped off Fermilab's new plan.

Fermilab's turn has come, to share in the bloodletting. LANL has paid a price already. So will other U.S. labs before the war is over - if it can ever be.

The European labs are faring better, GSI with its new FAIR, LHC about to crank up, Diamond in UK. Don't expect to see much improvement in our posture for science when we have to spend how many trillion bullying weaker nations.

If you care, remember this when elections come around....

Anonymous said...

FERMILAB didn't piss off anybody. Hassert retired and Durban and Obama don't give a damn about science. And, of course they blame Bush for the budget cut. But, the fact is that it was the earmarks that limited how much money could go for science.

The fact is that FEMILAB staff meet with Durban's staff on Thursday, December 13th, and were told the "nothing can be done about the HEP budget."

Now they are feeling the pressure and are trying (belatedly) to do something. Here is the latest from them:

December 21, 2007


In light of recent funding cuts, Illinois members will meet to discuss strategy

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Barack Obama(D-IL) and Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL) today sent the following letter to Jim Nussle, Director of the Office of Management and Budget(OMB), calling on him to increase next year's funding for the HighEnergy Physics (HEP) program, which supports research at Fermilab in Illinois, and at several other laboratories and universities across thenation that are doing vital, cutting edge research.

Durbin, Obama, and Biggert are in discussions with Congressional appropriations and authorization committees and the Department of Energy to address the current funding situation and avoid potential layoffs during fiscal year 2008. They also plan to call for an Illinois delegation meeting in January with representatives from Illinois labs and organizations to discuss a strategy to avoid potential job loss at Fermilab. The spending bill, approved by Congress this week, provided the HEP program with $88 million less than was requested.

This challenges Fermilab's ability to remain one of the world's preeminent research facilities after it has achieved outstanding success in research on neutrinos, the high energy frontier, and particle astrophysics. Adequate funding for the labs is critical to ensure that our country maintains its technological edge and that we continue to add to our high-tech manufacturing base.

Fermilab is the nation's premier high-energy physics laboratory. The laboratory leads U.S. research into the fundamental nature of matter and energy, and in 2007, Fermilab's researchers and facilities achieved results judged by the American Institute of Physics as among the Ten Top Physics Stories from aroundthe world.

[text of the letter is below]

Dear Director Nussle:

We are writing to you concerning a matter of critical importance to ourcountry, to science in America, and to our global competitiveness. Asyou continue to develop the President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2009, we respectfully request that you increase funding for the High Energy Physics (HEP) program in the Office of Science at the Department of Energy. As you know, the budget approved this week by Congress dealt a severe blow to HEP, which received $88 million less than requested. This budget rejected funding for the NOvA neutrino experiment at Fermilab, and drastically cut funding for research and development on the International Linear Collider.

These cuts could cripple Fermilab's ability to remain one of the world's preeminent research facilities. And this is at a time when Fermilab has achieved outstanding success, with significant results in each of its central areas of research: neutrinos, the high energy frontier, and particle astrophysics.

The facilities at Fermilab are essential for the basic scientific research that nurtures technological and scientific advances, and that fuels American innovation. Fermilab is one of a handful of our nation'spremier training sites for scientists, and a centerpiece of the system of DOE National Laboratories. Disruptive funding shortfalls have ripple effects throughout the American scientific community, displacing today's scientists and discouraging tomorrow's. We must work together to restore funding in basic physics research to maintain America's role as the innovator in technology, to retain our leading scientific institutions and their skilled workforces, and to provide opportunitiesfor future scientists.

While we recognize the formidable challenges you face regarding the demands on the federal budget, we respectfully encourage you to increase the funding request for the Office of Science, particularly for the HEP program, in the President's FY2009 Budget.

Barack Obama
Richard J. Durbin
Judy Biggert