Thursday, October 2, 2008

New digs

Yesterday was moving day, so after some heavy lifting I am finally moved in to my new apartment. It's a fully-furnished 2-bedroom in France, about a block from a bus stop so I will continue to take the bus to and from work. (I also have a CERN bike that I can use, but so far laziness has won in the mornings...) It's a lovely fall day today, and the Cubs are in the playoffs, so life is good.

It's been pretty quiet here at CERN. The lawsuit against the LHC was thrown out of court, previously scheduled meetings are continuing (even though they don't seem quite as urgent without beams), and it seems like everyone has settled back into their routines.

On the funding front, Congress has passed a continuing resolution until March of 2009, which means that the funding levels for science stay at the same level as FY08 (FY=fiscal year, which starts on October 1 ... we're now in FY09). These continuing resolutions are always tough because we don't even get a 3% boost to compensate for inflation. But the funding agencies and national labs weren't surprised; this is an election year, after all, so no one expected a new budget until we have a new president. In my opinion, this yearly budget thing seems pretty antiquated, and doesn't really work for science because it doesn't provide the funding continuity needed for long-term projects. Of course, I don't mean to sound ungrateful for the support we get from Congress, but it feels like they never pass the budget by October 1 anyway.... check out this plot from the Dept of Energy Office of Science website of how "on time" Congress has been with the budget over the past 30 years (green is early, red is late):

The past 8 years are kind of appalling if you ask me. Can you imagine paying your rent or your mortgage 150 days late?

A bientôt!

P.S. If you find this science funding/policy stuff interesting, you can subscribe to the American Institute of Physics FYI updates.

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