What good is a watchdog if you ignore its barking? Wouldn’t it be great if Fido not only warned you of trouble as it was happening but gave you a heads up about a problem coming down the road? The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing to receive recommendations from their watchdogs – inspectors general – on how federal agencies can, as Chairman John Thune put it, “regulate smarter – protecting public safety and market fairness while fostering economic grown and innovation.”
Republicans on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology announced their top five priorities for the 115th Congress, with Chairman Lamar Smith (TX-21) emphasizing the creation of “transparent environmental policies based on sound science and focused on innovation rather than regulation.”
While students around the country were recalling organic chemistry processes and physics formulas during their end-of-semester exams last Friday, Congress was also at work. Following in the Senate’s footsteps, the House passed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084), a reauthorization of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology Education and Science Act of 2007, or America COMPETES, which was last reauthorized in 2010. The 2016 bill outlines policies for the National Science Foundation (NSF); the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); and other federal science and innovation programs, including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs.
Dr. France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), selected Dr. William E. Easterling to lead NSF’s Directorate for Geosciences. The Directorate supports basic research to advance knowledge and innovation in atmospheric, earth, ocean, and polar sciences, providing over 60 percent of federal funding for basic research in the geosciences at academic institutions across the country.
What do that MRI you had after damaging your knee while running, knowing whether to bring an umbrella to work, and antifreeze in Antarctic fish have in common?MRIs, the Doppler radar, and the identification of “antifreeze” glycoproteins in Antarctic fish were made possible through research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). In addition to its 66-year history of promoting scientific progress, the NSF funds 24 percent of federally-supported research at colleges and universities across the nation. The 24-member National Science Board (NSB) leads NSF and meets five times per year, most recently on November 8 and 9. NSF Director Dr. France Córdova opened the meeting by touting some of the agency’s monumental successes in 2016, including six NSF-supported scientists winning Nobel Prizes and 213 teachers being awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
A former patent clerk named Albert Einstein sketched notes on the theory of relativity in 1905. More than a century later, the long-standing theory was validated when the Laser Interferometer Gravitation-Wave Observatory detected gravitational waves originating from the collision of two black holes. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which makes possible scientific discovery from space observations to human genetics to volcanic influence on sea level.
With bipartisan support, the NSF Major Research Facility Reform Act (H.R. 5049) passed in the House by roll call vote, 412-9. The bill, introduced by Representative Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), is intended to yield improved financial management and oversight of the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s major (more than $100 million) multi-user research facilities.