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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
Protest Over Smithsonian Cuts
10 April 2001 7:00 pm
The Smithsonian Institution wants to close two research centers as part of a move to consolidate and reshuffle its scientific activities. Many researchers are upset about the plan, and some worry that other programs may be cut as well. The plan is not final, however, and an influential member of Congress has asked Smithsonian officials to rescind it.
Considered by many to be the United States' equivalent of a ministry of culture and science, the Smithsonian consists of 16 museums, the National Zoo, and a half-dozen research centers. Slated for the ax are the Center for Materials Research and Education, which seeks to improve preservation and curation techniques for museum artifacts, and the Conservation and Research Center (CRC), a 1290-hectare rural breeding and study facility for threatened or endangered species, operated by the zoo.
The proposed closures are "a redirection of spending," as the Smithsonian focuses on a few key disciplines, says Lawrence Small, a former investment banker who last year took over as secretary of the 150-year-old institution. Smithsonian researchers say that they are shocked by the news, as are observers. "It's kind of amazing," says Devra Kleiman, a former zoo researcher and now a conservation biologist at Conservation International in Washington, D.C. Most zoos are trying to emphasize research and conservation, she says, but "the Smithsonian National Zoo, which was a model for that 25 years ago, [is] eliminating those functions."
The proposed cuts must still pass muster with Congress, which provides about 60% of the institution's $750 million budget, and with the Smithsonian's governing board, which is expected to review them next month. Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA), a member of the House appropriations panel whose district includes the CRC, immediately chastised the Smithsonian for the plan and called for a reversal of the decision. "I have let Smithsonian officials know of my extreme displeasure," Wolf said in a statement 6 April.