Act now, becomes law this week: U.S. guts Fermilab budget

Batavia, IL—The Bush Administration and Congress reneged on promises of increased support for basic science with the omnibus spending bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. Observers expect the bill to be signed into law by the end of this week; rapid action is needed for preservation. (Contacting the senator mentioned below would be a good start.)

12/20/2007


Batavia, IL —The Bush Administration and Congress appears to have reneged on promises of increased support for basic science with the omnibus spending bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. Observers expect the bill to be signed into law by the end of this week; rapid action is needed for preservation. (Contacting the senator mentioned below would be a good start.)

Ironically, a controls engineer at Fermilab told Control Engineering that the main difference between working in a government lab versus academia was, “We don’t have to constantly chase grants.” That was spoken at virtually the same time Congress was passing a bill that effectively cuts $64 million from two of Fermilab’s main programs, and essentially “zeroed out” a third. The three programs affected are the International Linear Collider (ILC), the NOvA neutrino experiment, and superconducting accelerator research.

Control technologies in use at the site include automation software, PLCs and other controllers, embedded controls, networks, fieldbuses, Ethernet, sensors, I/O connections, motors, drives, valves, hydraulics,

Perhaps most significant is the canceling of NOvA’s funding . This ongoing project was to be Fermilab’s centerpiece experiment after the planned shut down of Tevatron—currently the most powerful particle accelerator in the world—scheduled for 2008. Additionally, it sounds a warning that efforts to keep Tevatron operating beyond 2008 (Kurt Riesselmann, Fermilab’s deputy head of public affairs, had expressed hopes earlier in the day that funds might be found to operate Tevatron into 2010.)

The lab is trying to convince the other international partners in the ILC to locate it in Batavia, IL. Unfortunately, the Federal government’s reneging on three quarters of their contribution speaks volumes about U.S. commitment to the project, and about the trustworthiness of U.S. promises. If ILC partners decide to move the project elsewhere, it will be a major blow to the U.S. high-energy physics community.

Similarly, losing three quarters of the funding for ongoing superconducting accelerator research is another heavy blow to high-energy physics research in the U.S. While this research will likely still be done, as will the ILC, it will be done elsewhere.

Act now: Judy Jackson at Fermilab’s office of communication says that engineers interested in expressing support for Fermilab can contact Sen. Richard Durban (D-IL), who represents Illinois and sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee. A spokesperson at the senator's office on Dec. 20 said there's no comment about the cuts at this time.

Those at the Fermilab are discussing the impact .

Control Engineering 's

"Pillar to Post" blog also comments on the Fermilab cuts

and other technology news

For more information about the omnibus spending bill’s affect on U.S. support for fundamental and applied science, read Jeffrey Mervis’ article posted online at ScienceNOW Daily News .

C.G. Masi , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk
( Register here and scroll down to select your choice of eNewsletters free .)





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Additive manufacturing benefits; HMI and sensor tips; System integrator advice; Innovations from the industry
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Integrated mobility; Artificial intelligence; Predictive motion control; Sensors and control system inputs; Asset Management; Cybersecurity
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me