Congressional Visits Day urges research investment

April 3, 2008, Washington, DC--In early March, volunteers from SPIE (Bellingham, WA) and the Optical Society of America (OSA; Washington, DC) traveled to Washington to urge our Congress members to boost federal funding for research and education.

Apr 3rd, 2008

April 3, 2008, Washington, DC--In early March, volunteers from SPIE (Bellingham, WA) and the Optical Society of America (OSA; Washington, DC) traveled to Washington to urge our Congress members to boost federal funding for research and education.

The SPIE and OSA volunteers, as well as individuals from other societies, were among the more than 250 who participated in the annual Congressional Visits Day (CVD) sponsored by the Science-Engineering-Technology (SET) Working Group. The working group is a coalition of organizations and industry representatives--including the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Physics, IEEE, and the Materials Research Society, as well as SPIE and OSA--concerned about federal investment in scientific research.

While our officials are doing what they can to urge funding, some feedback from the CVD event was not quite as positive. "This was my second time participating with SPIE in CVD," said Barbara Darnell, project manager at Bodkin Design (Newton, MA) and chair of the SPIE Education Committee. "I visited the offices of my Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy and Congressman Barney Frank. All of my Representatives have strong voting records in support of Science, Education and Technology issues; unfortunately, the message that I received from all three offices was that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are sapping all available funds and more," said Darnell. "All three members of Congress were feverishly trying to include basic science funding in the pending Supplemental Spending bill that will authorize payments for the Iraq war so that, at a minimum, the 'lights can be left on' for some of our most important science programs. Once the lights are turned off in some instances, turning them back on is not an option."

For a more detailed look at this issue, see the story in the April 1 issue of the Optoelectronics Report business eNewsletter, or see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/324569.

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