Politics and Policy
Each week reporters from Physics Today scour meetings and reports to bring you the latest political news of relevance to the physical sciences community.
Despite billions in overruns and delays, senator insists that US honor its agreement with Russia and complete construction of plutonium disposition project.
Mapping and tracking every neuron in the human brain could have enormous payoffs.
Finding near-Earth asteroids is a challenge; deflecting one would require a years-long effort.
The young funding agency is becoming a business incubator.
Construction delays and reduced experimental time caused by sequestration could erode US leadership in computing and other sciences.
National Research Council panel backs research on laser fusion as a potential clean energy source, but cautions that ignition is a prerequisite to confidence.
President Obama's speech invoked science in four policy areas: energy, climate change, education, and defense.
Two high-profile scientists in President Obama's first administration will not be serving in his second.
Engineering leader resigns, while GAO finds major technical challenges and questions DOE's management of the $13 billion plant.
Draft assessment cites weather extremes, sea-level rise, and other signals of global warming.
A new report examines the capacity, feasibility, and cost of various underground sites for sequestering atmospheric CO2.
New report says agency must step up partnering, cut programs, or find other ways to cope with mismatch between its missions and its resources.
White House council wants renewed focus on basic research at universities and labs and policies that will spur industry to commercialize in the US.
Obama seeks agreement with lawmakers to lift automatic spending cuts and tax increases set for new year.
Twenty years after the US conducted its last nuclear test, there still is “no set time frame” for the Obama administration to seek ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), a key administration official said, and other nations should proceed to ratify the accord without waiting for the US.
Livermore scientists will slow the pace of their experiments while they investigate what went wrong.
A compilation of the magazine's print and online coverage of science issues in this year's election
An NRC committee reports that available technologies can be used to help interceptors single out targets from decoys and calls for some programs to be shut down.
How often did the two presidential candidates mention science when they accepted their respective parties' nominations?
The probe will examine the red planet’s interior.
The nuclear disarmament group Global Zero argues that the US could downsize its strategic force to 900 warheads, eliminate tactical and ground-based ICBMs, and still be capable of projecting "a threat of draconian dimensions at any prospective aggressor country."
NRC urges federal, state, and business actions to bolster research universities.
But agency keeps enrichment company’s loan guarantee application on hold until commercial viability is demonstrated.
Lawmakers and DOE find way to retain jobs while securing fuel needed to produce tritium for nuclear arsenal.
Measure would give scientists first dibs on helium should a shortage develop.
Lawmakers say the Obama administration is not keeping its part of the bargain for ratification of the New START treaty.
The job cuts were needed because of a 16% reduction in the lab’s budget from its 2011 level says management.
A year after Japan’s disaster, improvements in US reactor safety are still in process.
The new program will enable labs to negotiate more flexible terms with businesses when it comes to intellectual property rights, payment arrangements, and indemnification.
Tight budgets have forced the nuclear weapons lab to institute a voluntary separation plan.
Lawmakers are critical of EPA finding that Wyoming gas well caused groundwater contamination.
Report finds high-risk development projects could not find private financing
New report shows extent to which US companies are moving R&D operations offshore.
Saying that dangers have risen since 2010, activists call for new thinking by world leaders to resolve climate change and nuclear threats.
Despite reservations expressed by Congress, NASA has decided to continue with its controversial procurement approach to developing a spacecraft for transporting crew to and from the International Space Station.
Innovation and investment are the only two solutions to reducing a dependency on rare-earth metals, say Congressional witnesses.
Former US Department of Energy undersecretary of science Steven Koonin talks to Physics Today about his achievements at DOE, the research links needed between industry and government, the status of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and how the limiting aspects for many challenges facing the US are societal, not technological.
A new bill that will require disclosure of name, title, and employer of every peer reviewer for the federal grant program, is an effort to create a "more transparent and accountable federal government" say republican members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
At a marathon hearing, the energy secretary is unapologetic for the failure of his department’s first clean energy loan guarantee and stands by the decision to subordinate the public loan to private investors.
NSF, NIST receive modest budget increases for FY 2012, but NASA takes a $648 million hit.
The 192 lasers of the National Ignition Facility have so far failed to focus enough energy on a tiny fuel pellet to initiate nuclear fusion.
To help US industry stay competitive, President Obama has ordered federal agencies with laboratories to streamline their licensing and other technology commercialization procedures, establish explicit goals for their technology transfer programs, and track their performance.
White House science adviser says Justice Department told him to defy ban on meeting with Chinese colleagues.
The US has invited Russia to take part in deploying the ship-based
interceptor system meant to shield NATO countries from potential missile
attacks from the Middle East.
The US Department of Energy has conducted a quadrennial review of the technology programs run by DOE's offices of energy efficiency and renewable energy, fossil energy, and nuclear energy. The review's findings are being used in the preparation of DOE's budget proposal for fiscal year 2013.
Can scientists balance family life and continue to work in research? New NSF policies may help.
Scientists will have to tighten their belts as Congress cuts Obama’s budget proposals and abandons plans to double NSF funding.
NASA needs a strategic plan to coordinate how it will deal with the growing hazard of space junk, which imperils satellites, spacecraft, and the International Space Station.
The threat of cancellation has energized efforts on behalf of the project, both in and outside the astronomical community.
Fundamental changes are required to how the US should handle nuclear waste says the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.
The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board is asking for shale gas producers to provide more information about their fracking processes, and for more R&D on the long term consequences of extracting gas from shale rock.
A Nuclear Regulatory Commission task force has recommended that the emergency battery capacities of US nuclear reactors be upgraded. The proposal calls for a new minimum of eight hours of battery power to support cooling systems in the event that all AC power and diesel-generated power is lost.
An initiative led by Iran, Israel, and Jordan could give new life to the stalled Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) facility under construction in Allaan, Jordan
The House has approved $6 billion in cuts to the Department of Energy for 2012, but the Senate may restore much of that.
The US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration has awarded a five-year, $25 million grant to a consortium of academic organizations, headed by the University of California, Berkeley (UCB). The group will train graduate and undergraduate students for work in nuclear security and nonproliferation.
Stovepiping within the Department of Energy was responsible for the critical US shortage of helium-3, the rare isotope used in low-temperature physics, medical applications, and neutron detection.
The federal government should create a multiagency advanced manufacturing initiative to help US industry regain its competitiveness, says a new report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).
Contrary to a recently enacted law barring his office from interacting with China on science and technology matters, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy director John Holdren met Chinese S&T officials on two occasions this month.
A recommendation has been made by the commission formed to advise the Obama administration on what to do with the spent nuclear fuel from the nation's commercial reactors: The material should be consolidated at an above-ground storage facility while a new search is carried out to find a permanent geological repository.