In an effort led by Congressman Tim Bishop, the bipartisan Long Island delegation in the House of Representatives called for increased funding for the Department of Energy's Nuclear Physics Program in a letter sent to the White House Budget Office on Friday. The delegation's letter cites a recent recommendation from the DOE Nuclear Science Advisory Committee to increase the budget request for the DOE Office of Science and the Nuclear Physics program by an additional $50 million over the FY13 level.
Bishop spearheaded the delegation's letter in response to concerns that the cutting-edge Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton could potentially be closed if funding for Nuclear Physics remains flat or declines in the future. Bishop is working closely with BNL officials to make the case for a funding increase that would ensure RHIC, which supports 800 jobs and is used by hundreds of visiting scientists each year, continues to operate on Long Island. Overall, BNL employs 3,000 scientists, engineers, researchers, technicians and support staff and generates over $700 million in economic activity on Long Island.
In their letter, the delegation argues that a strong Nuclear Physics research program has a substantial positive impact on the economy and would lay the groundwork for advancements in energy, medicine, and new tools to deter nuclear proliferation. The letter notes that other nations such as China and India are increasing their rate of investment in research and development.
"They are harnessing the power of science and technology to compete with the U.S. economically and strategically; it is imperative that we continue to do the same," the delegation wrote. "Strengthening federal support for nuclear physics will fuel the engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation necessary for the United States to maintain its position as a scientific and economic leader."
The complete text of the delegation's letter to Jeffrey Zeints, the Acting Director of the federal Office of Management and Budget, is available at: http://timbishop.house.gov/uploads/Letter.pdf