April 2009 News Archive

April 30, 2009
Final LHC magnet goes underground

Geneva, 30 April 2009. The 53rd and final replacement magnet for CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was lowered into the accelerator’s tunnel today, marking the end of repair work above ground following the incident in September last year that brought LHC operations to a halt. Underground, the magnets are being interconnected, and new systems installed to prevent similar incidents happening again. The LHC is scheduled to restart in the autumn, and to run continuously until sufficient data have been accumulated for the LHC experiments to announce their first results.

“This is an important milestone in the repair process,” said CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology, Steve Myers. “It gets us close to where we were before the incident, and allows us to concentrate our efforts on installing the systems that will ensure a similar incident won’t happen again.”

The final magnet, a quadrupole designed to focus the beam, was lowered this afternoon and has started its journey to Sector 3-4, scene of the September incident. With all the magnets now underground, work in the tunnel will focus on connecting the magnets together and installing new safety systems, while on the surface, teams will shift their attention to replenishing the LHC’s supply of spare magnets.

In total 53 magnets were removed from Sector 3-4. Sixteen that sustained minimal damage were refurbished and put back into the tunnel. The remaining 37 were replaced by spares and will themselves be refurbished to provide spares for the future.

“Now we will split our team into two parts,” explained Lucio Rossi, Deputy head of CERN’s Technology Department. “The main group will carry out interconnection work in the tunnel while a second will rebuild our stock of spare magnets.”

The LHC repair process can be divided into three parts. Firstly, the repair itself, which is nearing completion with the installation of the last magnet today. Secondly, systems are being installed to monitor the LHC closely and ensure that similar incidents to that of last September cannot happen again. This work will continue into the summer. Finally, extra pressure relief valves are being installed to release helium in a safe and controlled manner should there be leaks inside the LHC’s cryostat at any time in the machine’s projected 15-20 year operational lifetime.

CERN is publishing regular updates on the LHC in its internal Bulletin, available at http://www.cern.ch/bulletin, as well as via twitter and YouTube at http://www.twitter.com/cern and http://www.youtube.com/cern

April 30, 2009
The members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)

April 30, 2009

Official message CERNwide concerning Swine influenza

The WHO declared on the 29/4/2009 a level 5 pandemic alert for the Swine influenza, this means that larger cluster(s) of virus spread have taken place but they remain localised.  The virus is therefore increasingly better adapted to humans, but may not yet be fully transmissible (high risk of pandemic).

As a precaution:

–      Official travel is forbidden to Mexico

–      For those coming from Mexico in the last 7 days:

o    As soon as you have the first symptoms of flu (fever ≥38°, chills, muscular pain and dry cough, fatigue), it is advised that you stay at home and contact your doctor or contact the Medical Emergency Services by calling 15 (France) or 144 (SWITZERLAND) telling them that you have come from Mexico.

o    On the CERN site as soon as you have the first symptoms of flu : respect basic hygiene rules: avoid contact with colleagues (meetings), cover your mouth and nose when you cough, wash your hands frequently,  go to the infirmary (building 57 ground floor) as soon as possible during the opening hours and outside these hours call 74444 (the fire brigade) who will take care of you.

This guidance may change as new official information becomes available from WHO.

This is a recommendation. Please do not panic. Any measure, if necessary for CERN, will be organised through the Medical Service.

April 29, 2009
AAAS Policy Alert
– President Addresses National Academies

President Obama addressed ( www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Fact-Sheet-
A-Historic-Commitment-To-Research-And-Education/ ) the Annual Meeting of th
e National Academy of Sciences ( www.nas.edu/ ) on April 27 and called for
a renewed commitment to basic scientific research and education.  During hi
s speech he stated that his goal would be to increase our nation’s share of
 federal investment in research and development (R&D) to 3 percent of gross
 domestic product (GDP).  In recent years, the share has hovered around 2.6
 percent of GDP.  Furthermore, Obama announced ( www.ostp.gov/galleries/pre
ss_release_files/PCAST Release 4-27-09 new.pdf ) the membership of the Pres
ident’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology (PCAST).  Members in
clude past AAAS President Shirley Ann Jackson of RPI, as well as former Boa
rd member Rosina Bierbaum and current AAAS Treasurer David Shaw.  They join
 former AAAS President John Holdren who is both the U.S. President’s scienc
e advisor and co-chair of PCAST.

Budget News

The House and Senate have nominated the conferees to resolve the difference
s between their respective versions of the FY 2010 budget resolution.  Hous
e members include: Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-SC), Ranking Me
mber Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Reps. Allen Boyd (D-FL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and
 Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). Senate members include Budget Committee Chair Kent
Conrad (D-ND), Ranking Member Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA
).  The conferees met today (April 27) to begin deliberating over a consens
us document.

Other Congressional News

Congressional Climate Change Update. The House Energy and Commerce Committe
e held four days of hearings ( energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option3D
com_content&view3Darticle&id3D1593&catid3D130&Itemid3D71 ) on the Ameri
can Clean Energy and Security Act, with much debate on the merits of moving
 ahead on the climate and energy package. Subcommittee markup of the bill h
as been pushed back to next week, with details such as how to allocate perm
its to emit greenhouse gases and how the revenues will be used yet to be de
termined. Meanwhile Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara
Boxer (D-CA) announced the formation of five working groups ( epw.senate.go
00e9d72-802a-23ad-4585-9c35f2774e61&Designation3DMajority ) to find compro
mises in several areas of concern:  regional issues, cost containment, targ
ets and timetables, market oversight and coal research and technology.  The
 Senate Foreign Relations Committee ( foreign.senate.gov/hearings/2009/hrg0
90422a.html ) heard from Todd Stern, special envoy for climate change at th
e State Department, who testified on the diplomatic cost of inaction on cli
mate change and emphasized the need for all countriesE28093developed and
 developingE28093to engage in negotiations with “common but differentiat
ed responsibilities.” Stern is leading the first session of the Major Econo
mies Forum on Energy and Climate ( www.state.gov/g/oes/climate/mem/ ) on Ap
ril 27-28, a White House initiative to develop a dialogue among major devel
oped and developing economies on climate change.

New Bill Promotes Science Envoys.  Last week, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)
introduced legislation (S. 838) ( thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:S.838
: ) that recognizes the importance of international scientific cooperation
and the work of organizations such as AAAS and the National Academies in th
is area.  The legislation tasks the State Department to appoint Science Env
oys to represent our nation and promote international collaboration. 

Executive Branch

Presidential Memo on Scientific Integrity.  OSTP issued a Presidential Memo
 on scientific integrity in the April 23 Federal Register ( edocket.access.
gpo.gov/2009/E9-9307.htm) and requests public comments on six principles fo
r maintaining and protecting the responsible use of science in decision-mak
ing.  The memo builds upon a March 9, 2009 memorandum from the President th
at called on OSTP to issue a set of recommendations within 120 days.  OSTP
has launched a blog ( blog.ostp.gov/category/scientific-integrity/ ) on the
 subject and is seeking comments on the selection of scientists to serve in
 the executive branch, peer-review of science used in policy-making, access
 to scientific data used in policy-making, and whistleblower protection.  C
omments are due May 13, 2009.

NIH Stem Cell Guidelines Now Open for Comment. The NIH Guidelines for Human
 Stem Cell Research are now open ( edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-9313.htm
) for public comment until May 26.

NCI Director Speaks on Cancer Plan. National Cancer Institute Director John
 Niederhuber recently spoke of his institute’s plans ( www.nih.gov/news/hea
lth/apr2009/nci-20.htm ) in the wake of President Obama’s cited goal of dou
bling funds for cancer research. Included would be a boost in the NCI payli
ne to fund more meritorious research grants, as well as more grants to firs
t-time investigators and new faculty researchers. There will also be a focu
s on personalized cancer care.

EPA Examines Ocean Acidification. On April 14, EPA issued a Federal Registe
r notice ( www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_acidification/pdfs/2
009-08638_PI.pdf ) requesting information on ocean acidification, the chang
ing of ocean chemistry from increases in carbon dioxide that affects coral
reefs and other marine organisms. In response to a lawsuit by the Center fo
r Biological Diversity, EPA is trying to determine whether changes are need
ed to the water quality criteria under the Clean Water Act.  Comments are d
ue June 15, 2009.

Toxics Reporting Tightened. As mandated in the 2009 omnibus appropriations
bill, EPA finalized changes to reporting requirements under the Toxics Rele
ase Inventory ( www.epa.gov/tri/ ) that will take effect July 1. The final
rules restore more stringent reporting requirements than those from a Bush-
era rule that raised the pollution threshold for reporting. In 2006, AAAS s
ubmitted comments ( www.aaas.org/spp/cstc/docs/06_01_12_TRI.pdf ) stating t
hat the increased threshold would “threaten the ability of researchers to i
dentify and understand potential threats to the environment and public heal
th in a scientifically rigorous manner.”

FDA Widens Access to “Morning-After” Pill. The Food and Drug Administration
 will now allow 17-year-olds to purchase the Plan B “morning-after” pill wi
thout a prescription, following a recent federal court order that it do so.
 The decision has been labeled a “triumph of science over politics” ( www.b
altimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bal-ed.pill24apr24,0,5615724.story )
 because of widespread concern that the previous administration overruled s
cientific advice on making the pill available over the counter, leading the
 FDA’s top women’s health official, Susan Wood, to resign ( www.washingtonp
ost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/31/AR2005083101271.html ) in protest
 in 2005.

Nation’s First CTO: Clarification.  Last week’s Policy Alert reported on th
e President’s selection of Aneesh Chopra to be the nation’s first chief tec
hnology officer. It has since been reported ( www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn
/content/article/2009/04/26/AR2009042602262.html ) that the CTO will also b
e one of the associate directors of the Office of Science and Technology Po
licy (OSTP) concerned with overall technology policy and innovation strateg
ies across federal departments.  Chopra’s position (which is subject to Sen
ate confirmation) should not be confused with that of Vivek Kundra, recentl
y named Chief Information Officer, who is located in the Office of Manageme
nt and Budget (OMB), overseeing day-to-day information technology spending
and interagency operations.  


Climate Risk Report Released. Led by the Heinz Center and CERES, a coalitio
n of insurance, government, environmental, and investment organizations rel
eased a report, Resilient Coasts: A Blueprint for Action ( www.heinzctr.org
/publications/PDF/Resilient_Coasts_Blueprint_Final.pdf ) that listed steps
the nation can take to drastically reduce rising coastal hazard risks and t
heir associated economic impacts.

Texas School Board Chairman Up for Confirmation. Texas State Board of Educa
tion Chairman Don McLeroy, a vocal opponent of teaching evolution, is up fo
r Senate confirmation by the state Senate, and during a recent hearing ( ww
/04/22/state_board_of_education_chair.html ) some members of the Senate Nom
inations Committee expressed dissatisfaction with McLeroy’s performance. On
e state senator said McLeroy has “created a hornet’s nest” and noted that 1
5 bills filed during this legislative session would strip powers from the s
tate school board. Even if McLeroy is not confirmed as chairman, he will st
ill remain a member of the board. In other news, the Institute for Creation
 Research is now suing in U.S. District Court over the Texas Higher Educati
on Coordinating Board’s decision to deny its request to offer a master’s de
gree in science education.

Animal Rights Activists Charged. Two animal rights activists have been arra
igned ( www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jemTbVTZMmaGj1q697Ev6lsa
sIegD97MJAIG0 ) on charges of conspiracy, stalking and other crimes, includ
ing attempted fire-bombing, against UCLA scientists engaged in animal resea

Publisher: Alan I. Leshner
Editor: Joanne Carney
Contributors: Erin Heath, Earl Lane, Steve Nelson, Al Teich, Kasey White

NOTE: The AAAS Policy Alert is a newsletter provided to AAAS Members to inf
orm them of developments in science and technology policy that may be of in
terest.  Information in the Policy Alert is gathered from published news re
ports, unpublished documents, and personal communications.  Although the in
formation contained in this newsletter is regarded as reliable, it is provi
ded only for the convenience and  private use of our members.  Comments and
 suggestions regarding the Policy Alert are welcome.  Please write to alert
@aaas.org .                                                               

April 29, 2009
AIP FYI#51: Appropriators Review Commerce Department

The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News
Number 51: April 29, 2009
Web version: http://www.aip.org/fyi/2009/051.html

Appropriators Review Department of Commerce

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has been on Capitol Hill twice within
the last week to testify before the House and Senate Appropriations
Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, and Science.  While the
department’s FY 2010 budget will not be submitted to Congress for
another week or so, Senate subcommittee chairwoman Barbara Mikulski
(D-MD) called the  April 23 hearing the beginning of the
subcommittee’s 2010 budget hearings.

Appropriators had many questions for Secretary Locke about several
programs that have experienced management problems, while praising
the department’s science and technology programs.  Mikulski’s
opening statement touched on President Obama’s agenda to
“reinvigorate our science programs,” saying that the department  had
suffered from “unrealistic funding for science programs and labs,
almost zero funding for technology and manufacturing partnerships
with industry.”   She described Commerce as the “innovation engine
for this nation,” saying “no other Department in our government has
all the elements in one place to keep America competitive in this
new century.  It starts with Commerce’s sciences and research
programs, finding new ways to solve tomorrow’s problems.”  Mikulski
added, “As a leader in America’s competitiveness, Commerce needs
realistic funding, proper management and oversight to keep this
nation scientifically relevant and technologically innovative in the
global marketplace.”  Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), the
subcommittee’s Ranking Republican, said “through the Department of
Commerce, our country is able to maintain high technical standards,
as well as staying on the cutting edge of scientific research – all
of which are fundamental to our nation’s leadership in the global

Secretary Locke’s written statement described the Obama
Administration’s plans for the department’s science and technology

“This budget supports the National Institute of Standards and
Technology’s (NIST) advanced measurement and standards activities
that are critical to the Nation’s technology infrastructure. The
President’s plan for investments in science includes doubling
research funding within NIST over 10 years. The request includes
$125 million for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership
program to enhance the competitiveness of manufacturers by
facilitating the adoption of efficient manufacturing processes. The
Technology Innovation Program will receive $70 million to invest in
high-impact research that will tackle critical national needs and
advance innovation.  These two programs had been proposed for
termination in the FY 2009 President’s Budget. In addition, the ARRA
[American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] includes $220 million for
NIST’s scientific research activities and lab equipment and $180
million for construction of NIST facilities.”  Secretary Locke’s
entire written statement can be viewed at

When compared to other troubled programs – the upcoming census,
NOAA’s satellite program, and the US Patent Office –  there was
little discussion during the question-and-answer part of this
hearing on Commerce’s S&T programs.  Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
spoke of the America COMPETES legislation’s provision on NIST
funding, and how there was strong bipartisan congressional support,
and support throughout the nation, for “moving at a good rate” the
agency’s funding.  Mikulski described her pride in having NIST,
NOAA, and the Census Bureau headquartered in her State of Maryland,
and in a NIST civil servant being a Nobel Prize winner.  She spoke
favorably about NIST as a place where management procedures are

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and
Science met yesterday.  Again, most of the discussion at this
hearing focused on the department’s more troubled programs, with
subcommittee chairman Alan Mollohan (D-WV) telling Locke that
“sometimes  . . . the squeaky wheel gets the grease” in the
subcommittee’s hearings.   Mollohan expressed much concern about
global climate change and its many manifestations, saying that only
the Commerce Department was capable of providing a leadership role.
He agrees with the Administration’s proposal to establish a National
Climate Service, Locke later saying that he felt that NOAA would be
the appropriate  agency to take the lead role in climate change.

Other questions during the House hearing dealt with the Commerce
Department’s role in education and encouraging students to go into
the sciences.  Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) spoke of NIST having a
“terrific track record of investing in peer-reviewed scientific
research” that resulted in great benefits, later saying that the
agency does “wonderful work.”

Both Mikulski and Mollohan indicated that they would have written
questions for Secretary Locke after the Administration sends its
FY2010 budget request to Congress.

April 28, 2009
Article on the LHC in CNN.com/technology

Big Bang machine detectors will be ‘even more perfect’

April 27, 2009
$1 billion a day for stimulus

    The Obama administration has committed $75 billion in stimulus money
    in 10 weeks. So far $14.5 billion has been spent, mostly for Medicaid.

By Tami Luhby
CNNMoney.com senior writer
Last Updated: April 27, 2009: 2:04 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The federal government has made available
more than $75 billion for stimulus projects in the 10 weeks since
President Obama signed the $787 billion recovery package into law.

Not all of that money has hit the streets, however. So far, $14.5
billion has been spent, nearly all of it to help states cope with rising
Medicaid costs.

A CNNMoney.com analysis of the program’s financial reports shows how
difficult it is to quickly inject billions of dollars into the economy.
Experts interviewed said they are not surprised by the pace of spending,
though they had mixed views on whether the effort would boost the economy.

“There’s a natural tension between using taxpayers’ money in a prudent
way and getting the money out the door quickly,” said Isabel Sawhill, a
Brookings Institution senior fellow.

The massive recovery package was designed to stimulate the economy and
create jobs, as well as assist states and people suffering from the
recession by providing funding for education, Medicaid and other public

The federal government is now tasked with putting $499 billion to work
in coming years. The remaining $288 billion consists of tax relief, the
signature program of which, the Making Work Pay credit, began earlier
this month.

The Obama administration says it is satisfied with the pace of spending
and should meet its goal of making 70% of the funds available by
September 2010. So far, about 15% has been committed.

“We’re ahead of schedule and making steady progress,” said Liz Oxhorn, a
press secretary for Vice President Joe Biden, who is heading the
recovery effort. “We’re pleased.”

Still, the funding must pass over several hurdles before the federal
government considers it “spent.”

Some dollars can flow relatively quickly through existing channels to
the intended recipient, be it state and local governments, nonprofit
agencies or private contractors. It’s also easier to get funds for
projects that were already in the works and just needed funding.

Other money, however, remains in federal agencies’ hands waiting to be
distributed. Many would-be recipients are still wading through all the
recovery program’s requirements or waiting for guidance from federal
agencies before they put in requests.

Lastly, a significant amount of funding won’t be made available until
recipients either sign contracts or file grant applications. And in some
cases, new programs must be created before the money can flow.

How one agency is spending the money

Take the Department of Health and Human Services, which is distributing
$137 billion. It has made available nearly $29 billion to the states,
who’ve claimed $13.3 billion as of April 17, according to an agency report.

Just under $13.2 billion has gone to states to help them pay for
Medicaid services. That funding has been able to move so quickly because
it was the first pool of money the federal government made available and
it’s being pumped through an established program. States have also
received some funds for foster care and adoption assistance and for new
community health centers.

But another $100 million for senior services — such as nutrition
programs at senior centers and Meals on Wheels — is sitting unclaimed.
States are in the process of requesting their share of the money as they
figure out how to navigate the federal program and assess their needs
back home.

And the $1 billion slated for prevention and wellness programs hasn’t
even been committed because the agency is still working out details,
said spokesman Nick Papas. Specifics should be announced in early summer.

Meanwhile, the department is working to push more dollars out the door,
Papas said.

“Recovery Act dollars are keeping community health centers open and
helping care for more Americans in need,” Papas said. “We continue to
work quickly and carefully to distribute Recovery Act dollars in an open
and transparent manner.”

Does it need to be spent faster?

Handing out nearly $500 billion in a responsible manner is not easy,
experts said.

“You can only spend so much money really fast,” said Michael Ettlinger,
vice president for economic policy at the left-leaning Center for
American Progress.

He’s expecting a flood of money to hit the streets once the states file
their requests and grant applications. But that doesn’t mean the
recovery bill isn’t having an effect. The economy is already being
helped by the program’s tax credits, though that spending is harder to
measure, he said.

Because the weak economy is expected to linger, there’s a benefit to
doling out the recovery dollars slowly, said Sawhill, the Brookings
economist. Though she’s disappointed with the pace of spending so far,
she understands why it takes time.

“The fact that the money is not being spent all in the beginning is not
a bad thing, though you do want to stop the downward spiral,” she said.

Other experts are skeptical as to whether the recovery program will help
at all. Alan Viard, resident scholar at the conservative American
Enterprise Institute, has questioned from the beginning whether
constructing highways and bridges — which the administration says will
create lots of jobs — will really stimulate the economy.

“I don’t think the infrastructure spending is likely to spend out at a
fast enough rate,” Viard said.

First Published: April 27, 2009: 12:34 PM ET

April 27, 2009
Watch President Obama’s speech to NAS members

April 27, 2009
FYI – The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News

Number 49: April 27 2009
Web version: http://www.aip.org/fyi/2009/049.html

Obama: 3% of GDP for R&D

President Barack Obama addressed an overflow audience at the 146th
Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on April
27. In his expansive speech, the President called for greater
investments in research and development, and science education.

The following are select quotes from the President's speech:

Federal funding in the physical sciences as a portion of our gross
domestic product has fallen by nearly half over the past quarter
century. Time and again we've allowed the research and
experimentation tax credit, which helps business grow and innovate,
to lapse.

Our schools continue to trail. Our students are outperformed in
math and science by their peers in Singapore, Japan, England, the
Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Korea, among others. Another assessment
shows American fifteen year olds ranked 25th in math and 21st in
science when compared to nations around the world.

“And we have watched as scientific integrity has been undermined and
scientific research politicized in an effort to advance
predetermined ideological agendas.

“A half century ago, this nation made a commitment to lead the world
in scientific and technological innovation; to invest in education,
in research, in engineering. Since then our investments have
steadily declined as a share of our national income-our GDP [gross
domestic product].

I am here today to set this goal: we will devote more than three
percent of our GDP to research and development. We will not just
meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the
Space Race, through policies that invest in basic and applied
research: promote breakthroughs in energy and medicine, and improve
education in math and science. This represents the largest
commitment to scientific research and innovation in American

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and with the
support of Congress, my administration is already providing the
largest single boost to investment in basic research in American

We double the budget of key agencies, including the National
Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and
Technology. And my budget doubles funding for the Department of
Energy's Office of Science

My budget makes the research and experimentation tax credit

The fact is, there will be no single Sputnik moment for this
generation's challenge to break our dependence on fossil fuels.

That is why I have set a goal for our nation that we will reduce
our carbon pollution by more than 80 percent by 2050.

And today, I am also announcing that for the first time, we are
funding an initiative- recommended by this organization- called the
Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy, or ARPA-E.

And because of recent progress- not just in biology, genetics and
medicine, but also in physics, chemistry, computer science, and
engineering- we have the potential to make enormous progress against
diseases in the coming decades. That is why my Administration is
committed to increasing funding for the National Institutes of
Heath, including $6 billion to support cancer research, part of a
sustained, multi-year plan to double cancer research in our

We also need to engage the scientific community directly in the
work of public policy. That is why, today, I am announcing the
appointment of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and
Technology, known as PCAST.

It will be co-chaired by John Holdren, my top science advisor; Eric
Lander, one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project;
and Harold Varmus, former head of the National Institutes of Health
and a Nobel laureate.

Today I am announcing a renewed commitment to education in
mathematics and science.

We know that the quality of math and science teachers is the most
influential single factor in determining whether or a student will
succeed or fail in these subjects. Yet, in high school, more than
twenty percent of students in math and more than sixty percent of
students in chemistry and physics are taught by teachers without
expertise in these fields. And this problem is only going to get
worse; there is a projected shortfall of more than 280,000 math and
science teachers across the country by 2015.

That is why I am announcing today that states making strong
commitments and progress in math and science education will be
eligible to compete later this fall for additional funds under the
Secretary of Education’s $5 billion Race to the Top program.

I am challenging states to dramatically improve achievement in math
and science by raising standards, modernizing science labs,
upgrading curriculum, and forging partnerships to improve the use of
science and technology in our classrooms. And I am challenging
states to enhance teacher preparation and training, and to attract
new and qualified math and science teachers to better engage
students and reinvigorate these subjects in our schools.

There are, right now, chemists who could teacher chemistry;
physicists who could teach physics… But we need to create a way to
bring the expertise and the enthusiasm of folks- folks like you-
into the classroom.

My budget also triples the number of National Science Foundation
graduate research fellowships.

So I want to persuade you to spend time in the classroom. Encourage
your university to participate in programs to allow students to get
a degree in scientific fields and a teaching certificate at the same

I'm going to participate in a public awareness and outreach
campaign to encourage students to consider careers in science,
mathematics, and engineering.

And the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation
will be launching a joint initiative to inspire tens of thousands of
American students to pursue careers in science, engineering and
entrepreneurship related to clean energy.

It will create research opportunities for undergraduates and
educational opportunities for women and minorities who too often
have been underrepresented in scientific and technological fields.

The President's speech may be listened to at,
http://www.nationalacademies.org/ .

April 27, 2009
President Obama’s remarks at the National Academy of Sciences

April 23, 2009
The National Academies

More Than 9,000 National Academies Reports Now Available in Open Access

April 22, 2009
AAAS Policy Alert

Budget News

The House and Senate return this week to resume legislative work after a two-week spring recess. The first order of business will be to iron out in conference the differences between the two chambers’ budget resolutions for fiscal year (FY) 2010. Another priority will be to address the Administration’s $83.4 billion supplemental funding request for the DOD FY 2009 budget for military operations, intelligence gathering and diplomatic activities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Other Congressional News

Nomination Hearings. This week the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a nomination hearing for Shere Abbott to be Associate Director for Environment in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Meanwhile the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing for the nominations of Kristina M. Johnson to be Under Secretary for Energy Programs and Steven Koonin to be the Under Secretary for Science at DOE. The hearing for Margaret Hamburg, nominated to be Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, has not yet been scheduled by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Executive Branch

NIH Releases Stem Cell Guidelines. On April 17 the National Institutes of Health released its draft guidelines on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research. NIH announced that it would fund work on stem cells derived from embryos left over at fertility clinics, provided that certain conditions are met – for example, informed consent is obtained from donors. It will not at this time fund techniques involving the creation of human embryos for research. The regulations will be finalized this summer following an initial 30-day public comment period. Meanwhile, British scientists are collaborating with Pfizer to test a procedure using embryonic stem cells to reverse age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness.

Government Holds Meetings on Stimulus-Funded Biomedical Research. Last week the new 15-member Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research held the first of at least three public comment sessions on how the $1.1 billion allocated in the stimulus package for research comparing medical interventions should be spent. Subsequent meetings are tentatively scheduled for May 6 and May 13. Also last week, the National Institutes of Health convened its Advisory Committee to the Director by telephone to discuss stimulus funds. Committee members expressed enthusiasm for the funding and NIH’s approach to it, but some were concerned about how the agency will handle the influx of grant applications and how it will adjust in 2011 when the stimulus funds will be gone.

EPA Issues Endangerment Finding. On April 17, two years after the Supreme Court ordered the EPA to issue a decision on whether automobile emissions endanger human health and welfare and therefore would be regulated under the Clean Air Act, EPA issued a proposed endangerment finding. The finding states, “In both magnitude and probability, climate change is an enormous problem. The greenhouse gases that are responsible for it endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act.” The proposed finding, which now enters a 60-day public comment period, does not include any regulations. A final endangerment finding would trigger regulation, which would be conducted through the rulemaking process. The press release accompanying the endangerment finding noted the preference of President Obama and EPA Administrator Jackson “for comprehensive legislation to address this issue and create the framework for a clean energy economy,” rather than regulation under the Clean Air Act. The House Energy and Commerce Committee begins hearings this week on the draft American Clean Energy and Security Act, which contains a cap-and-trade program to limit greenhouse gas emissions (Policy Alert, 4/8/09).

EPA To Test Pesticides for Endocrine Disruption. EPA has issued the first list of pesticides to be screened for potentially disrupting the endocrine system, which regulates growth, metabolism, and reproduction. The 67 pesticides on the list were selected for having a high potential for human exposure through food and water, presence in the home, or agricultural pesticide application.

U.S. and Mexico Announce New Energy and Climate Partnership. The US-Mexico Bilateral Framework on Clean Energy and Climate Change will focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency, adaptation, market mechanisms, forestry and land use, green jobs, low carbon energy technology development, and capacity building. The framework will also build upon existing partnerships to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to adapt to the local impacts of climate change in the region, and to strengthen the reliability and flow of cross-border electricity.

More Presidential Nominations. Last week President Obama announced the following nominations for key Administration positions:
Daniel Poneman, a Principal with The Scowcroft Group, to be Deputy Secretary for DOE;
William F. Brinkman, Senior Research Physicist at Princeton University and former vice president for research at both Bell Labs and Sandia National Lab, to be Director of the DOE Office of Science;
Rajiv Shah, agricultural development director in the Global Development Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to be Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics at the Department of Agriculture; and
Andrew C. Weber, a nuclear threat policy specialist with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, to be Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs.

President Names Nation’s First CTO. President Obama has selected Aneesh Chopra as the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer, a new White House position. His purview will be overall national technology policy, including technology innovation. The position will not be part of OSTP, and how its responsibilities will relate to OSTP’s is not yet clear. Chopra has been serving as Virginia’s Secretary of Technology in Governor Timothy Kaine’s administration.


Congressional Leaders Gordon and Baird to Address AAAS Forum. Representatives Bart Gordon (Chair, House Committee on Science & Technology) and Brian Baird (Chair of the Committee’s Energy & Environment Subcommittee) join Presidential science advisor John Holdren, MIT president Susan Hockfield, and the Canadian Minister of State for S&T, Gary Goodyear, as featured speakers at the 34th annual AAAS Forum on S&T Policy, April 30-May 1, in Washington, DC (full agenda and registration at http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/forum.shtml.)

For-Profit IRB Hit by GAO Sting Now Scaling Back. Colorado-based Coast IRB, a for-profit institutional review board which the Government Accountability Office says approved a fictitious shoddy medical study, is now voluntarily halting some of its work. After receiving a letter from the Food and Drug Administration, Coast IRB will cease to review new FDA-regulated studies and will direct researchers conducting FDA-regulated studies to halt new subject enrollment until further notice. The move could affect some 3,000 clinical investigators.

Union Calls for New Framework in Setting H-1B Visas. The AFL-CIO Department of Professional Employees called on the government to revise the H-1B visa system, and urged that an independent commission be established to analyze market and labor data and to establish annual H-1B visa limits based on such market tests. The group also recommends that the length of stay for the visas be shortened, that U.S. workers be given the right to sue companies if displaced, and that the amount that companies should pay in penalties for fraud be increased.

Publisher: Alan I. Leshner
Editor: Steve Nelson
Contributors: Joanne Carney, Mark Frankel, Erin Heath, Barbara Jasny, Shirley Malcom, Al Teich, Kasey White

NOTE: The AAAS Policy Alert is a newsletter provided to AAAS Members to inform them of developments in science and technology policy that may be of interest.  Information in the Policy Alert is gathered from published news reports, unpublished documents, and personal communications.  Although the information contained in this newsletter is regarded as reliable, it is provided only for the convenience and  private use of our members.  Comments and suggestions regarding the Policy Alert are welcome.  Please write to alert@aaas.org

April 22, 2009
A world away, two planets somewhat like earth

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 22

April 21, 2009
Town hall evening for US people living in Geneva

In case anyone is interested in learning more about issues concerning
you while living overseas, there will be a Town Hall meeting next
Thursday with Jonathan Lippman from the US Consulate speaking at
Webster University in Bellevue.

———- Forwarded message ———-

Come join ACA and your US Embassy Staff for an informative


Webster University, LLC Commons Room
Bellevue campus (near Geneva)
9 rte de Collex (parking)

April 30th
6:30pm to 9pm

Presentations by:

Jonathan Lippman, Consul Honoraire, Geneva

Leigh Carter,  Deputy Chief of Mission  and Charge d~RAffairs

Mr. Edward Birsner, Consul General

Richard Reilly, Vice Consul

Doris Foster, Head of Social Security, Bern

 Along with a special presentation of this year~Rs Overseas Americans
Week with updates on the Americans Abroad Caucus, voting, taxation,
citizenship, banking, Medicare and Social Security.

Please check our website, www.americansabroad.org for information on
this upcoming event.  Or, contact us at, 022.340.02.33

American Citizens Abroad (ACA)
The Voice of Americans Overseas
5 Rue Liotard
1202 Geneva, Switzerland

Founded in 1978, ACA is a non-profit, non-partisan, volunteer
association whose mission is to defend the rights of Americans living
overseas. ACA works to represent overseas Americans interests before
the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, the US Congress, the
Federal Judiciary, and in the press. Headquartered in Geneva,
Switzerland with offices in Washington D.C, the association draws on
more than three decades of rich experience and knowledge of laws
affecting Americans living overseas. To learn more about ACA please
visit our website, www.americansabroad.org

April 15, 2009
AAAS Policy Alert

Budget News

With Congress still away for the two-week holiday recess, there is no action on the budget to report this week. The Administration expects to release its detailed FY 2010 budget proposals in May, although spokespeople have not been specific about the expected date of release

Other Congressional News
Van Hollen Introduces “Cap and Dividend” Bill. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) has introduced the Cap and Dividend Act of 2009 (H.R. 1862) which would cap the emissions of greenhouse gases, auction emissions permits, and distribute the proceeds of the auctions to consumers. According to Van Hollen’s office, 100 percent of auction proceeds would be returned to consumers in the form of a monthly dividend to every legal U.S. resident with a valid Social Security number. Van Hollen serves as Assistant to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and is the Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus. This bill joins a draft cap-and-trade bill recently released by House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA) that is scheduled to be marked up in the next few weeks.

Executive Branch

Applications for H1-B Visas Decline. Federal immigration officials are reporting that the quota for H1-B visas, under which skilled foreign workers are admitted to work in the U.S. for three years (renewable for another three), mainly in the technology industry, have not been filled more than a week after they were made available. A total of 85,000 visas may be issued, including 20,000 for professionals with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions and 65,000 for those with a bachelor’s degree. Persons working at universities and non-profit research institutions are exempt. During the past two years, officials at Immigration and Citizenship Services, which handles the applications, reported that their quota was exceeded within the first few days.


Holdren to Keynote AAAS Forum on S&T Policy. The 34th annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy, scheduled for April 30-May 1 in Washington, DC, will feature presidential science advisor John Holdren, MIT president Susan Hockfield, Canadian minister of state for science and technology Gary Goodyear, and noted physicist Richard Garwin, among other speakers. Sessions will cover the budgetary and policy context for R&D in FY 2010; federal, industry, and international approaches to systematically investing in R&D; anticipatory governance of emerging technologies; health implications of climate change and various energy policy choices; global economic issues and the roles for S&T; and the future of science journalism. See the full agenda and register online at reduced rates through April 16 at http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/forum.htm.

Graduate Application Trends Vary by Country and Field. Graduate student applications for fall 2009, according to a Council of Graduate Schools survey, show continued strong growth in applications from China, up 16 percent from 2008. However, applications from India and South Korea declined by 9 percent and 7 percent, respectively, after both had experienced 2 percent gains last year. These three countries annually send the most graduate students to the U.S. Overall, 2009 applications increased over last year in seven of the eight broad fields surveyed, with the largest increases in arts & humanities (8 percent) and business (7 percent). In four broad fields (engineering, physical & earth sciences, social sciences & psychology, and other fields) the increase was 4 percent. Applications in education showed little increase over 2008, and life science applications slipped with a 2 percent decline between 2008 and 2009.

April 15, 2009

Registration Open: 1st Joint Workshop on Energy Scaling of Hadron Collisions

—— 1st announcement —–

    1st Joint Workshop on Energy Scaling of Hadron Collisions :
                 Theory / RHIC / Tevatron / LHC,

will take place at Fermilab, Apr 27-29, 2009.

The web site address is:


The purpose of this workshop is to provide a forum for theorists and
experimentalists from different hadron collider communities to come
together and

 1. Compare measurements and strategies,

 2. Discuss the energy scaling of common observed phenomena in a
coherent setting,

 3. Work with Monte Carlo and tuning experts to provide as complete
and accurate descriptions as possible over the full range of measured

 4. Work out possible common / coordinated strategies for future
measurements that could help further elucidate the structure of hadron
collisions and its evolution with energy,

 5. Work out possible improvements and/or additions to existing
measurements that could help further elucidate the structure of hadron
collisions and its evolution with energy.

Please see the web site for additional details, and please forward this
mail to members of your group(s) who would be interested in attending.

As many of you already know, it’s more a creative use of visitor money
than a “proper” workshop, so I hope you’ll forgive us that you’ll have
to pay for your own coffee 🙂 We still thought it would be highly
interesting to get experts from the pp programme at RHIC together with
Tevatron and LHC min-bias/underlying-event people under one roof with MC
and tuning experts. Theory provides the natural connection between these
different fields and collider energies, so we thought it was natural to
host this workshop in the theory group at Fermilab, but don’t be fooled
by that: the main emphasis will be on data and on extrapolations to the

April 14, 2009
AAUP Newsletter – Furloughs: NOT the Simple Solution

It is still early days for fully evaluating higher education’s response to the worldwide recession, but a number of institutions are exploring unpaid furloughs as a short-term solution. In some cases, administrations seem to be using the external economic crisis to justify extraordinary internal measures without sufficiently consulting with faculty, providing them with adequate information about the financial condition of the institution, or taking into account alternative measures for addressing whatever financial challenges the institution faces.

Of course, when faculty or staff have collective bargaining contracts, such drastic measures are subject to negotiation. At other institutions, faculty and staff need to organize to insist that furloughs, layoffs, or salary reductions not be unilaterally imposed. All campus constituencies should be consulted and given an opportunity to propose alternatives.

The AAUP chapter at Louisiana State University responded efficiently to the challenge, issuing a principled letter establishing how the campus should proceed. The success that individual chapters will have in enforcing such principles will depend both on the size of their membership and the level of their resolve. It is urgent that chapters work to increase both. The strength of our Association rests in considerable part on the strength and commitment of our members, chapters, and conferences, as well as on the strength and ability of national leaders and staff to respond to emerging challenges and to support the good work of our members at the local level.

Not every faculty will want to insist that financial exigency be declared before budget adjustments can be made, but some of the principles articulated in the Louisiana letter deserve widespread consideration. The most obvious point to make is that not only faculty members but also some staff cannot simply stop working for a given period of time. Thus a furlough really means working without pay. Since that is fundamentally unacceptable, delayed compensation is the only tolerable alternative.

It is also more than misleading to suggest that a 10 percent pay cut means the same thing to an administrator earning hundreds of thousands of dollars as it does to a contingent teacher or an assistant professor. Lower-paid employees should be exempted from any form of salary reduction. Many campuses should also take this opportunity to consider reductions in the number of administrators, as well as considering disproportionate reductions in administrative compensation, which has disproportionately increased in recent decades. They should also take a look at reining in the salaries of administrators at the upper end of the salary scale.

Above all it is critical that decisions about furloughs and other salary measures be collaborative, not imposed by fiat.

Cary Nelson, AAUP President
Gary Rhoades, General Secretary

April 14, 2009
Fourth International Accelerator School for Linear Colliders (2009 LC School)

Announcement - Fourth International Accelerator School for Linear 
Colliders (2009 LC School)

Dear Colleague,
We are pleased to announce that the Fourth International Accelerator
School for Linear Colliders (2009 LC School) will be held from 7-18
September 2009 at Hotel Jixian, Huairou, near Beijing, China under the
auspices of the GDE, ILCSC and ICFA Beam Dynamics Panel. The Institute
of High Energy Physics (IHEP) will be the host institution. Detailed
information can be found online: http://www.linearcollider.org/school/2009/

The school will take a maximum of 70 students from around the world.
Students will receive financial aid including travel (airfare, lodging,
meals and local transportation, full or partial). Only online
application will be accepted. The deadline is June 1, 2009.

Tiejun Deng
IHEP, P.O. Box 918, Beijing, 100049, China
Phone: +86-10-8823-5014
Fax: +86-10-8823-3374
E-mail: dengtj@ihep.ac.cn

Please feel free to forward this e-mail to interested students and

Best regards,
Barry Barish, Director of ILC GDE
Enzo Iarocci, Chair of ILCSC
Shin-ichi Kurokawa, KEK
Weiren Chou, Chair of ICFA BD Panel

April 13, 2009

Sofia Kovalevskaja Award—a message from  Humboldt Foundation

Sofja Kovalevskaja Award
Support for Outstanding Junior Scholars to Conduct Innovative Research in Germany

Overview of the Award
The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award is open to highly acclaimed scholars and
scientists from all countries and disciplines.  Applicants must have
completed a doctoral degree with distinction within the past six years
and have published in prestigious international journals or academic
presses.   The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation particularly welcomes
applications from qualified, female junior researchers.
This award, granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and funded
by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, is one of the
most generously endowed research awards in Germany.

Award Funding

The funding – up to 1.65 million EUR per award – enables exceptionally
promising junior scientists and scholars with outstanding research
records to concentrate on high-level, innovative research in Germany,
virtually without administrative constraints. The funds provided by the
Sofja Kovalevskaja Award over five years allow recipients to:

    * Conduct independent research.
    * Finance a research team at a German university or research
institution of their choice.
    * Cover their living expenses while in Germany.

Application Information

The next announcement for applications is planned for the first half of
the year 2009 and  the deadline for application will probably be in the
beginning of 2010. The selection meeting is scheduled for early summer
2010. The Foundation plans to grant up to eight awards in 2010.

Application forms and detailed information are available on the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation webpage.

April 9, 2009
APS April Meeting Registration Deadline Extended

Dear APS Member

If you are planning to attend the April Meeting in Denver and have
not yet made your hotel reservation, be advised that the deadline
for making hotel reservations has been extended to Tuesday, April
14. Please go to www.aps.org/meetings/april and click on housing
immediately, because even though the deadline has been extended,
there may not be any rooms left by next Tuesday.

APS Meetings Department

April 8, 2009
Excerpts from the AAAS Policy Alert

Before leaving for a two-week spring recess, the House and Senate passed their respective FY 2010 budget resolutions. Following the recess, they will begin ironing out the differences between the two plans. In broad terms, the plans are similar. The House passed (by 233-196) a $3.6 trillion resolution, and the Senate voted 55-43 for a $3.53 trillion plan. The two chambers will not only have to come to agreement over the total budgetary levels, but will also have to agree on discretionary spending levels (Policy Alert, March 30, 2009). In addition, the House resolution retains language that would allow Congress to use the reconciliation process to pass health care reform and climate change legislation. The reconciliation process (which cannot be filibustered) is historically only used for passage of certain must-pass bills.

Bills on Coordinating International S&T and STEM Education Clear House Subcommittee. The Research and Education Subcommittee of the House S&T Committee approved two bills that would establish two coordinating committees as part of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The International Science and Technology Cooperation Act of 2009 (H.R. 1736) would coordinate international science and technology activities among federal research agencies including the Department of State. The STEM Education Coordination Act of 2009 (H.R. 1709) would coordinate science education efforts across federal agencies including the Department of Education. The STEM bill is based on recommendations from a 2007 National Science Board report. Executive Branch Clinton Appoints Adviser for Innovation. Seeking to bring more technology to the nation’s diplomatic efforts – including promotion of human rights as well as economic development – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has appointed Alec Ross as senior adviser on innovation, effective April 6. Ross, who coordinated technology and innovation plans in the Obama presidential campaign (and represented then-candidate Obama at the AAAS Candidates’ Forum on S&T Policy in Boston in February 2008), founded One Economy, a non-profit organization that employs technology to help low-income communities.

April 8, 2009
Freya Blekman Profile in International Science Grid this Week

From hockey to Higgs

April 7, 2009
Proceedings of the 2009 Chamonix Workshop on LHC Performance

The electronic proceedings of the 2009 Chamonix Workshop on LHC Performance are now available from the following url:

April 3, 2009
CERN Bulletin Monday 6 April Edition

See the latest CERN Bulletin for several articles of interest on LHC progress, schedule, and Swiss Carte de Legitimation.

April 1, 2009
Excerpts from the AAAS Policy Alert

Publisher: Alan I. Leshner

Excerpts from the AAAS Policy Alert:

Budget News

The House http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_reports&docid=f:hr060.pdf
 and Senate  http://budget.senate.gov/democratic/ 
Budget Committees have each passed their respective budget resolutions for FY 2010, and those will now move to the floor for votes before Congress departs for its spring recess on April 3. The budget resolution is a blueprint that sets broad guidelines for spending levels. Both chambers’ resolutions have established a total budget of $3.6 trillion for the federal government. However, both plans include less discretionary spending ($1.09 trillion in the House plan, $1.079 in the Senate’s) than does the Obama Administration’s FY 2010 budget outline that was released last month ($1.13 trillion). Thus, there already are discrepancies between the President’s and the Congress’s budget starting points.

Other Congressional News

NIH Open Access Policy Made Permanent. A section of the FY 2009 omnibus appropriations bill, P.L. 111-8, signed into law March 11, made NIH’s open access policy permanent. The provision reads in full: “Sec. 217. The Director of the National Institutes of Health (‘NIH’) shall require in the current fiscal year and thereafter that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.” This is a change from the existing policy that went into effect last year, whereby the open access requirement was subject to annual renewal by Congress. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is planning legislation that would overturn the newly adopted policy.

Report on Key National Challenges. The Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress on March 27 released a wide-ranging report, Saving America’s Future: A Challenge to the American People, http://www.thepresidency.org/pubs/press_SAFI_rollout_release_2009.pdf
which included, among a number of broad national challenges, the need to invest more in science and innovation, to address energy dependence and the environment, and to strengthen the U.S. educational system to support the 21st century economy.

Editor: Steve Nelson
Contributors: Joanne Carney, Mark Frankel, Erin Heath, Barbara Jasny, Shirley Malcom, Jennifer StaAna, Al Teich, Kasey White

NOTE: The AAAS Policy Alert is a newsletter provided to AAAS Members to inform them of developments in science and technology policy that may be of interest.  Information in the Policy Alert is gathered from published news reports, unpublished documents, and personal communications.  Although the information contained in this newsletter is regarded as reliable, it is provided only for the convenience and  private use of our members.  Comments and suggestions regarding the Policy Alert are welcome.  Please write to alert@aaas.org.