Archive for January 8, 2008

DOE cuts: bad P.R. ?

You probably have seen the latest announcements from Dennis Kovar (DOE) about stopping BaBar and all work on Nova and the ILC. See Alexey Petrov’s post, Tommaso Dorigo’s post and Gordon Watt’s post for some details and commentary.

If, however, you go to the DOE web site, you will find a happy announcement of President Bush’s visionary plan Twenty in Ten calling for a mandatory renewable fuel standard and new CAFE standards. Here’s the picture:

President Bush at the DOE

There is absolutely no trace that anything is wrong with the budget, or that sacrifices in basic science will now be made for the sake of other national priorities… (and I’ll keep my thoughts about that private, though I am sympathetic to Bee’s post from the beginning of the year.)

You might think that is simply the wrong place to look – one should check the Office of Science web site to find out about the impact of these budget cuts, and how the DOE / Office of Science plan to adapt to the new reality. But there again, there is not a single byte of information about the new budget. In fact, the central image is the front page of a “landmark publication” called Facilities for the Future of Science: a Twenty-Year Outlook (Nov, 2003). They should certainly take that down!

If you go to the DOE Press Release page, you will not find any information or announcements about the budget, though there is a call for nominations to the Enrico Fermi Prize. And the HEP page also contains no information.

Of course I do not expect to see dramatic announcements full of woe and gnashing of teeth, but I do expect official statements, full of facts and not p.r., for the benefit of people in the field and for the interested public (including the news media). Aren’t web sites like those intended for the responsible dissemination of information? That is, after all, why we invented the internet…

January 8, 2008 at 9:06 am 6 comments

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