Democrats or Republicans: Who is better for physical science?

10/06/04

Industrial physicist article provides analysis of spending trends

October 6, 2004--Will a Democratic or Republican administration be better for the physical sciences? According to an article in the October/November 2004 issue of The Industrial Physicist, federal funding in the physical sciences has suffered under both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. In fact, it was the early Clinton years that saw a plunge in federal spending of 42% between 1992 and 1996, following the end of the Cold War.

Nevertheless, physics funding has not fared much better under Bush, and the emphasis on which programs get funded has shifted. Whereas the Clinton administration supported heavily such programs as the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology Program, which funds high-risk, high-reward applied research by businesses, the Bush administration has sought to abolish this program each year.

Furthermore, the Bush administration has more than doubled the spending on weapons development, from $30 billion in 2000 to a proposed $67 billion for 2005. However, weapons development generally excludes basic and applied physics research, which has greatly increased our standard of living and made possible much of modern technology. Among the experts quoted in the article are John Marburger, science adviser in the Bush administration, and Neal Lane, science adviser in the second Clinton administration.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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