Scientists at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory have picked up a strong—and unwelcome—signal from a source close to home. NSF has slashed the observatory’s research equipment budget in half, cut staff by 10 percent, and sharply reduced funding for postdocs. This is the fourth straight year of shrinking budgets for the program, which includes three observatories and 10 very long baseline array antennas being constructed around the country.

Recruiters at Los Alamos National Laboratory are desperate. Few graduate students are choosing to study theoretical atomic physics, a field that is vital to government weapons development and several high-tech industries but which has lost its academic luster. Los Alamos’s solution: hold a six-week summer camp for up to 20 graduate students that will attempt to recreate some of the excitement of the field’s glory years during and shortly after World War II. “I hope that we can influence one or two...

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