However, a $47 million request to begin funding a gravitational wave observatory was axed. NIH was given a $1 billion boost, to $8.3 billion, with all institutes getting a healthy increase. And despite cutting the genome center's requested increase from $50 million to barely $10 million, committee members stipulated that a permanent NIH director (once appointed) could give genome research another $18 million from a director's discretionary fund.
More than 300 employees of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., have signed a letter warning their bosses that administrative policies are stifling "an atmosphere that once fostered scientific and technical productivity" at the lab. One set of issues, says Director John Nuckolls, involves miscommunications between the lab and DOE employees about what regulations are applicable in which situations. "But the lab is also doing it to itself," says Nuckolls. "Occupational safety and health have always been major concerns. Now we're trying to add environment to that, and some of our experts aren't doing it smart."
Rax Restaurants, a 500-store sandwich chain based in Columbus, Ohio, has teamed up with the National Science Teachers Association in an effort to improve science education for elementary school students. The company expects to send out 5,000 kits (each kit can accommodate a classroom of 30 students) this fall, and the company has also created a $50,000 fund for small grants to classroom teachers. For more information on the Discovery Club, write: Rax Restaurants, 1266 Dublin Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43215.
The end of the cold war requires that DOE labs take on a new mission, says Energy Secretary James Watkins. But he says that "technology doesn't transfer unless people do." Reasonable policies to clarify potential conflicts of interest need to be established, Watkins told a Senate energy research subcommittee last month, so that scientists can go from labs to industry and back again without going to jail."
At another point in this hearing, directors from six of DOE's national labs complained about a vote by the House to wipe out a discretionary fund that each director can use to fund innovative research. "There isn't any room for national monopolies," said Sandia's Al Narath about the legislation's intent to give Congress greater control over lab activities. Instead, he says, the labs should be allowed to compete based on what they see as their strengths, with Congress free to judge the results.