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      CommentAuthorunderdog
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2007
     (353.1)
    My girlfriend is an astrophysicist, and she just told me about this - it would seem that due to budget over-run of other projects, the british government is cutting astrotronomy, astrophysics and particle physics research down by 80 million pounds. This includes no longer being a contributor to the Gemini telescopes - currently (aside from Keck in the US, which brit astronomers wouldn't have access to anyway) the most powerful telescope in the world (8 metre class. Big 'uns). So no contribution, no time on the telescope for any british astronomer.

    British Astro-heads are being urged to contact their MP and complain about this: (See http://www.saveastronomy.co.uk/ for more specific information). Now luckily this won't effect my girlfriends work, but it'll effect (or is it affect? I can never remember) plenty of other fantasticly interesting and important stuff...bad news
  1.  (353.2)
    Contributions to the International Linear Collider are also gone. This mess seems like a bad deal for big-budget physics overall.

    And things are no better here in the US. The budget passed by Congress shows big cuts, especially in high-energy physics. NIH, NSF, NASA, and the DOE all have budget increases that fall below inflation; ITER (an international fusion project) gets $0 from the US; the US is also done contributing to the ILC (they were given $15 million, which has already been spent since the fiscal year started on October 1). Fermilab is being specifically targeted, and to deal with its cutbacks, they plan to lay off 200 workers and force 2 days of unpaid leave a month on the remaining workers.

    More here and here.

    Another post from Cosmic Variance on how difficult it is to decide which questions get funded (from anthropology to z-bosons):

    A colleague of mine in condensed-matter physics was fond of complaining about all the great small-scale physics that his community could do if they only had half of Fermilab’s budget. Which is undoubtedly true, but with half of Fermilab’s budget you wouldn’t get half the science out of Fermilab — you wouldn’t get anything at all. If that kind of particle physics is worth doing at all (which is a completely fair question), there is an entry fee you can’t avoid paying.