…because you can never have enough of them.
The pullout of the UK from Cassini (as it presently stands) has been making the news in the popular press. However, the main concern of scientists is presently the structure of science funding.
In a post entitled Apocalypse Soon, the implications of the present round of cuts for newly qualified researchers getting their first jobs have been noted. Research Councils UK, which coordinates the funding council, has been in the dock for making inaccurate forecasts of costs and savings from the Shared Services Centre, which aims to make efficiency savings across the research councils. Meanwhile Jon Butterworth has been commenting on both the main party’s policies in New Scientist. He brings up the prospects of major cuts under the opposition and the problem I’ve been banging on about, which is the Government’s hope for directed research with defined ends rather than blue skies research from which economic results are harvested. George Efstathiou, who has participated in previous funding structures, has also prepared a critique of the present situation. This includes the view held by quite a few that Keith Mason seems to want us to be in the business of building but not exploiting scientific facilities around the world.
So, are physicists simply spending all their time complaining? Nope, as mentioned in George’s letter, professional institutions are producing their own suggestions for dealing with the situation, such as this from the IoP, as well as even generating their own manifestos for science, on which they’ll be campaigning during the election period.