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John Felde | University of Maryland | USA

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Budgets, DUSEL, and LBNE

I know it has been a week or two since this was breaking news, but I wanted to discuss the recent budget cuts and how they could impact my life as a young scientist.  The Presidents FY12 budget called for the termination of NSF funding of DUSEL, the proposed Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, in the Homestake mine in South Dakota, see below.  The purpose of DUSEL was to provide an underground laboratory for scientific experiments, and is most needed for particle physics experiments including neutrino oscillations, supernova neutrinos, direct dark matter searches, neutrinoless double beta decay searches, and other experiments which require a low cosmic ray background.  The decision to terminate NSF funding for DUSEL was a bit of a shock; however, just a few weeks earlier an internal NSF committee decided to not award supplemental funds to the DUSEL design team.  Perhaps a sign of things to come.  It is worth remembering that this is the administrations take on the budget situation, and congress might have a different opinion.  Either way, we are not off to a good start.

Although DUSEL has taken a big hit, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE) remains a high priority for the Department of Energy independent of DUSEL.  This is comforting to hear for someone with an interest in LBNE and neutrino oscillation physics, but without DUSEL a lot of other interesting science is likely to go unstudied.  In the US at least.

Heres keeping our fingers crossed, and please see other posts for instructions to contact your congress person to show your support.

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