FY 1996 Budget Request: NSF - Physics, Astronomy, Materials Research

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Publication date: 
10 February 1995
Number: 
26

Below are selected program elements from the Fiscal Year 1996
National Science Foundation budget request.  See FYI #22 for an
overview of the entire budget; additional FYIs will be issued on
other NSF programs.

PHYSICS SUBACTIVITY:

NSF is requesting a $142.20 million budget for this subactivity,
which is a 9.1%, or $11.87 million increase.  The budget document
states the request includes:

"An increment of $5.37 million [5.7%] for Physics Research Project
Support to a total of $98.95 million.  This includes increased
support for atomic, molecular, plasma, and optical physics; the
physics of chaos and complexity; and for new research in biological
physics and particle astrophysics.  Activities in undergraduate
education and curriculum development will be enhanced."

"An increment of $6.50 million [17.7%] for Facilities to a total of
$43.25 million which will allow continuation of the upgrade of CESR
[Cornell Electron Storage Ring] to luminosities a factor of at
least 30 higher than exist anywhere in the world at similar
facilities, making possible advanced research in particle physics
and with synchrotron light.  The increment also provides for
enhancements at the IUCF [Indiana University Cyclotron Facility]
and NSCL [Michigan State University National Superconducting
Cyclotron Laboratory] cyclotrons."

The budget document notes: "The Physics Subactivity supports
research and development activities for the ...LIGO project, and
provides resources for the development of a users' program at that
facility.  This Subactivity oversees this construction project."
A future FYI will provide additional LIGO information.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCES SUBACTIVITY:

NSF is requesting a $110.39 million budget for this subactivity,
which is 8.0%, or $8.21 million increase.  The budget document
states the request includes:

"$1.20 million [3.1%] increase for Research Project Support to a
total of $40.00 million.  This will provide for continued
development of adaptive optics systems for moderate aperture
telescopes, for development of optical interferometers, and for
equipping optical observatories with state-of-the-art
instrumentation.  There will be support for developing enhanced
interactions between the academic and industrial sectors through
postdoctoral fellowships.  Studies of planetary atmospheres will be
emphasized."

"$760,000 [9.7%] increase for NAIC [National Astronomy and
Ionosphere Center] to a total of $8.58 million.  This will provide
for operations and maintenance of the 300-meter radio telescope and
for further development of instrumentation to take advantage of the
capabilities of the upgraded Arecibo Telescope."

"$2.54 million [9.5%] increase for NOAO [National Optical Astronomy
Observatories] to a total of $29.23 million.  The increases are for
operations and maintenance of the observatories, with particular
emphasis on infrastructure support, including instrumentation
development and deployment for exploration of solar influences in
the Environment and Global Change strategic area."

"$3.71 million [12.9%] increase for NRAO [National Radio Astronomy
Observatory] to a total of $32.58 million.  The increases are for
operations and maintenance of existing telescopes, instrumentation,
enhanced operations of the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), and
continued research and development of a large millimeter-wavelength
interferometric array."

MATERIALS RESEARCH SUBACTIVITY: 

NSF is requesting a $190.92 million budget for this subactivity,
which is a 8.9%, or $15.54 million increase.  The budget document
states the request includes:

"$5.89 million [7.1%] increase for individual investigators and
small groups through the Materials Research Project Support Program
to a total of $88.97 million.  The requested increase includes
research on the design and synthesis of materials with new and
improved properties, nanoscience and engineering aimed at achieving
atomic-level control of nanostructures that offer potential for new
devices, the synthesis of biomimetic materials with properties
found in biologically produced materials, and research on the
development and understanding of `smart' materials that react to
changes in their environment thereby offering potential as unique
sensors.  In addition, the Subactivity will continue to pursue
innovative approaches to interdisciplinary course, curriculum and
training activities for the education of future scientists and
engineers."

"$3.40 million [5.8%] increase to a total of $62.32 million for
multi-investigator research through the Materials Research Science
and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) Program.  This includes $47.41
million for MRSECs and $14.91 million for Science and Technology
Centers supported by this Subactivity.  The requested increase will
support one-to-two new MRSECs resulting from an open competition to
be held in FY 1996 and also will strengthen existing materials
centers.  University-industry-federal laboratory partnerships and
outreach activities will be emphasized."

"$6.25 million [18.7%] increase to a total of $39.63 million for
the national user facilities including centers for synchrotron
radiation, small-angle neutron scattering, high magnetic fields,
and nano-fabrication technology.  The budget also provides for the
support of major instrumentation.  The requested increase will be
used to upgrade the facilities, to provide researchers with
instrumentation at the national synchrotron facilities, and to
develop novel characterization instruments."

"Within the National Facilities and Instrumentation program
element, funding for the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
(NHMFL) at Florida State University will increase by $3.00 million
to $15.00 million, as the laboratory enters its second five-year
development phase.  Of the $15.00 million, $12.00 million will
provide support for user operations and maintenance and upgrades of
existing magnets.  The requested increase will support the
development of next generation magnet systems.  In excess of
$100.00 million has been committed by the State of Florida toward
the cost of establishing the laboratory."