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Nicole Ackerman | SLAC | USA

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Conversations with the US Government

I know I am not the only scientist who cringed over the relationship between science and the recent Bush Administration. Myself and others were overjoyed about the extent that science was part of Barack Obama’s campaign speeches (if only sometimes a mention). Now that a new Administration is in Washington, it is pleasant to see some things may be changing.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy has a blog, and the President has used it to request comments on a recent memorandum on scientific integrity. The comment period ends on Wednesday (May 13th), so if you believe you have input – please go and contribute! It’s amazing that by simply commenting on a blog I could influence science policy.

Some communication methods have stayed the same, even with the change of Administration. Every year there is a lobbying group of particle physicists who go to Washington to speak with congressional representatives. It is part of a complicated funding system that I hope the blog about later, but it boils down to a need to convince Congress that it is valuable to provide money to the organizations that fund particle physics. This year the group was comprised of SLAC Users, Fermilab Users, and US LHC representatives. The conversations between scientists and government officials aren’t just lectures on the important of the neutrino mass or Higg’s Boson – Congress had some things to say to scientists as well.

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