Robert Walker (R-Pa.) surprised many of his colleagues both in and out of Congress with his December 15 announcement of plans to resign his seat when his term ends later this year. Walker, known as a staunch supporter of government-funded basic research, has headed the committee since 1995. He has also been a controversial figure, advocating merging federal science committees into a single cabinet-level agency. Many contend that Walker's departure will leave a void that will be difficult to fill. National Science Foundation director Neal Lane applauds Walker's effort on behalf of securing dollars for the nation's basic research. "He'll be missed. NSF has enjoyed support from both sides of Congress. I expect he'll continue to push hard for federal science programs while he's in office," Lane says. "It's difficult to speculate what will happen after he leaves." Robert Park, director of public information for the American Physical Society in...

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