Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News What are the chances of funding cuts to science? (at the levels of the UK?)

  1. Nov 3, 2010 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I'm quite concerned about that...
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2010 #2
    Have you heard of any specific proposals for cuts?
  4. Nov 3, 2010 #3
    The government are culling everything by the looks of it (aside from the things we really could cut - the olympics for one).

    Haven't seen any direct proposals, but they're slowly working through the lot. The only thing apparantely free of cuts so far is sports.

    In two years the university fees are going up to £9000 per year.
  5. Nov 3, 2010 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    jared, Simfish is worried about cuts in the US.
  6. Nov 3, 2010 #5
    I heard about plans for a government hearing about the "scientific fraud" behind global warming. I know it's a banned topic here, but I think many of us can agree that the US Congress isn't in a position to determine scientific fraud, since so few of them are actually scientists.


  7. Nov 3, 2010 #6
  8. Nov 3, 2010 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    There were 3 actual scientists in the two houses, all physicists, all congressmen:

    The one Republican, Vernon J. Ehlers, retired. Rush Holt won re-election yesterday, but Bill Foster was defeated. Given Energy Secretary Stephen Chu's questioning (on plate tectonics) at the hands of Joe Barton, any investigation that might be launched doesn't bode well from a purely scientific point of view. Although they might go more along the lines of a lack of fiduciary duty and/or financial fraud, instead (not saying there's anything there, but that sort of investigation would be more up their alley).

    EDIT: Looks like there're a few more with science backgrounds, including a chemist (John Olver) and an engineer with a Ph.D. in mathematics (Jerry McNerney):
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2010
  9. Nov 4, 2010 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  10. Nov 4, 2010 #9
    Ah, misread the title.
  11. Nov 4, 2010 #10
    They don't generally pass laws on science. They pass laws to set up organizations like the NIH, NSF, DoE, NASA, NOAA and the like and those organizations govern the science in this country.

    MATLABdude referenced this already. But here is the chairman of the energy committee grilling Nobel laureate and Energy Secretary Steven Chu about oil in Alaska:


    Keep in mind this was posted by Joe Barton himself (or more likely, his staff) with the headline Energy Secretary Puzzled By Simple Question.

    Is this the kind of thing you had in mind when you said they should "weigh the facts as they see them?"
  12. Nov 4, 2010 #11

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Yes, Joe Barton is an idiot. So are most congresscritters.

    In the eyes of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, congresscritters are useful idiots who fund quite a bit of lot the research that moves our fields forward. They are useful only to the extent that the funding pipeline remains open. Congressional tectonics appear to be poised to shift those funds elsewhere.

    The reverse is also true. Congresscritters view those of us who work in some technical endeavor as useful idiots. We remain useful so long as the truths we expose support their worldview and the knowledge we create puts money in their pockets or into the pockets of their voters. When we fail to be useful idiots are are just idiots whose funding can easily be shut off.

    That makes for strange bedfellows.
  13. Nov 4, 2010 #12


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    ...What may be even more scary: Joe Barton is one of the Congressfolks with a science background (BS and MS in industrial engineering):

    AND has at least a short stint in the private sector in oil and gas.
  14. Nov 4, 2010 #13


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    On the possibility of science funding cuts in the US, the New York Times says the following:
    Of course, what actually happens to the budget is still very much in the air.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: What are the chances of funding cuts to science? (at the levels of the UK?)
  1. What Is In A Chance? (Replies: 11)