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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
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,...
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...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
A Shutdown Veteran Can't Believe It's Happening Again
2 October 2013 11:30 am
Andrew Lovinger had just arrived at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the fall of 1995 when he was furloughed for 3 weeks because of a budget fight between the Republican Congress and President Bill Clinton that shut down several federal agencies. Now the longtime director of NSF’s polymers program finds himself once again at home, the victim of another bitter feud between Congress and the president. “I was very much hoping that a shutdown could be avoided,” he told ScienceInsider yesterday.
Lovinger thinks that an extended shutdown will be more disruptive this time around. “It was probably easier back then because everything was done on paper. Things just sort of waited,” he says. “Now, everything arrives electronically. There will be thousands of e-mails on my computer when I go back, and it will be a lot harder to catch up.”
One immediate headache for Lovinger is the cancellation of a panel that was scheduled to meet tomorrow and Friday to review grant proposals submitted to NSF this summer. “I had eight people coming into town, and they had already made travel arrangements. I had to tell them that the meeting was postponed until further notice.”
Unless Congress acts quickly, Lovinger will also have to miss the annual meeting of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in Washington, D.C., which starts on Sunday. That’s because NSF paid for his registration. And although the meeting is only a subway ride away from his home, his attendance would violate the no-work provision of the shutdown. “So I’ll probably have to miss it,” he says.
Nearly 2 decades ago, Lovinger told Science that “what happened was unique, and I don’t think it will occur again.” Reminded of that comment, he chuckles before turning serious again. “I’m saddened that it has come to this,” he says. “It does not reflect well on our capacity to be a global leader in science.”