The Quantum Pontiff

Mad about the funding cuts in science? Why not send an letter to those responsible?

Taken from an letter just sent out to members of the American Physical Society:

From: Arthur Bienenstock, President, the American Physical Society
To: Members of the American Physical Society
Re: Federal Funding Alert:

I am writing to request that you contact your elected representatives and let
them know that the 2008 federal budget deals a devastating blow to basic
research. You can make this contact quickly and easily at:

There, you will find pre-written messages to your Senators, Representatives
and President Bush. You may send these letters as they are, modify them, or
write your own. While individualizing your letter is not essential, please
at least make minor edits to the subject line and the first line of the text
of each email so that these emails are more individualized. (See webpage
pointers below for further instruction.)

Congress wrapped up the Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08) budget just before adjourning
for the year. The budget, which wipes out $1 billion in increases approved
last summer for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of
Energy’s Office of Science (DOE Science) and the NIST laboratories, does
irreparable damage to science and abandons the Innovation/Competitiveness
initiatives of Congress and the Administration.

While DOE Science programs received a 2.5 percent increase overall (exclusive
of earmarks), they will decline by about one percent after inflation.
High-energy physics and fusion will feel the greatest pain. High energy
physics will likely have to eliminate hundreds of jobs, halt work on both the
NOvA, the next step in neutrino physics at FermiLab and partially furlough
many remaining employees. The Omnibus bill for FY08 also stopped R&D on the
International Linear Collider project, an international high-precision step
beyond the Large Hadron Collider, and zeroed out the U.S. contribution to the
international ITER project, designed to demonstrate the scientific and
technological feasibility of fusion energy. These actions are severely
damaging to the U.S. standing in the international scientific community.

The NSF, with only a 1.2 percent increase for Research and Related
Activities, will lose almost three percent in level of effort after
inflation is taken into account. Moreover, with new facility projects coming
online, their administrative costs will have to be paid out of the research
accounts. As a result, university proposal funding rates will inevitably

The request in the attached letters is to restore that funding in an FY08
supplemental appropriations bill, and to support the FY09 budget at the levels
authorized in the COMPETES act, efforts that the APS Washington Office are
pursuing with both Congress and the Administration.

(1) While individualizing your letter is not essential, we ask that you make
minor edits to the subject line and the first line of the text of each email.
(2) If you are a government employee, please do not use government resources
to send a communication.
(3) Your browser will take you to a page where you will enter your name and
(4) After entering your address, click the “Edit/Send Email button.” A
window with an individual email message to the four offices will appear.
Click “Send Emails” to transmit the communication.
(5) Electronic submission is preferred.
(6) For further help, write to opa[[at]]


  1. #1 Heather
    January 10, 2008

    Very nice. I hope that many, many people send these letters. I also hope that they are not largely ignored by the recipients as ‘letters from the common person’ so generally are. The US as a whole has fallen gravely behind in science and technology, and I think (unfortunately) that it is up to the scientists and researchers out there to make the government see their folly.

    Best of luck!

  2. #2 TimJ
    January 14, 2008

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for making this available. I finally managed to squeeze in some time to get those emails out.

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