Friday, May 30, 2008

Big Physics Funding in the US and Elsewhere

The US Department of Energy (DOE) leads the world in the conception and design of large scale science projects. In their 2003 report called Facilities for the Future of Science: a 20 Year Outlook and the interim report last year showing progress, the department highlights their progress.

Near term priorities include the ITER, medium term includes the Linear Collider, and long-term includes the National Synchrotron Light Source upgrade.

What’s surprising about the report is how low the funding is compared to the European Union. The Europeans are outspending the US by a factor of 3. The US has diverted a substantial amount of funding from basic science into homeland security. Some of that work is being done at the major US labs but in general the US labs are downsizing their workforce – especially at the SLAC and ILC.

In scanning web it’s clear this problem has been coming for a few years now. Reports from Wired magazine and others describe the budget reduction from $60M to $15M. In this post the author describes the impending budget crises at the ILC and SLAC based on projections late last year. Labs are laying off employees and finding ways to cut costs. Fermilab even as a web page dedicated to layoffs providing details.


Best regards,
Hall T.

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