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Sputnik Moments and 'The Cliff'

Over at Robert Krulwich's wonderful blog he has posted a piece about the end of the stimulus package's extra funding for science:

After two glorious years, science researchers all over America will face what they are now calling "The Cliff;" to replace their grants from Uncle Sam they're going to have to find new funders, get on their knees and do that thing they've always had to do...umm, what's the word?


From years of experience writing grants to the NSF, NASA, etc., I can say that finding funding has always been hard. Lots of competition, lots of great ideas, not a lot of money. You write 10 grants and hope that one gets funded. We in the scientific community are OK with begging (or justifying as we like to think of it). We just hope that things won't get worse than they were in the past.

The budget pickle we are in will certainly mean belt tightening but it's hard to have a Sputnik Moment, as the president suggested, when you cut funding for the Sputnikteers.

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Adam Frank was a contributor to the NPR blog 13.7: Cosmos & Culture. A professor at the University of Rochester, Frank is a theoretical/computational astrophysicist and currently heads a research group developing supercomputer code to study the formation and death of stars. Frank's research has also explored the evolution of newly born planets and the structure of clouds in the interstellar medium. Recently, he has begun work in the fields of astrobiology and network theory/data science. Frank also holds a joint appointment at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, a Department of Energy fusion lab.