Fireworks At The Foundation

Every year during the holiday season, Bassam Shakhashiri, NSF associate director for science and engineering education, performs a flashy chemistry demonstration intended to get children excited about science. This year, however, Shakhashiri has begun his pyrotechnics a little early with a controversial campaign to increase spending on education, including a recent article in Science (246:317, 1989) that examines his wish for a $600 million annual budget, three times the 1990 level. In a era of tight budgets, however, more money for one program often means less for another, and NSF officials are worried that Shakhashiri’s efforts could harm increased funding for research. “Erich [NSF Director Erich Bloch] is not happy,” says one official. “What Bassam doesn’t realize is that, for every friend he makes in education, he loses two in the research community. It could lead to a very bad situation.” But Shakhashin doesn’t seem to...

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