NSF’s “FY 2002 Budget Request to Congress” details the Major
Research Equipment and U.S. Polar Programs requests. The
Major Research Equipment budget would decrease 20.6%, or
$25.03 million, from $121.33 million to $96.30 million. The
U.S. Polar Programs budget would increase 1.2%, or $3.31
million, from $273.26 million to $276.57 million.


This account provides construction and acquisition funding for
major research projects; facility operations and maintenance
costs are funded through the Research and Related Activities
budget. There are three projects that would be funded in FY
2002: the Large Hadron Collider, the Network for Earthquake
Engineering Simulation, and Terascale Computing Systems.

Large Hadron Collider:

NSF requested $16.90 million for the Large Hadron Collider for
the construction of the ATLAS and CMS detectors. NSF is
contributing a total of $81.0 million in the period FY 1999-
2003; the Department of Energy is providing $450.0 million.
LHC construction is scheduled to be complete by 2005.

George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering

NSF requested $24.40 million for FY 2002. The budget
document states: “The goal…is to provide a national,
networked collaboratory of geographically-distributed, shared
use next-generation experimental research equipment sites,
with teleobservation and teleoperation capabilities.” The
experimental facilities construction and network integration
are to be completed in FY 2004.

Terascale Computing Systems:

NSF requested $55.0 million in FY 2002. The budget document
states that FY 2002 milestones are “Begin full operations of
Terascale Computing Facility (initial site)” and “Begin
construction of Distributed Terascale Facility (second site)”.

Other Projects: The status of other projects was reviewed by
NSF in the budget document. The Atacama Large Millimeter
Array would receive $9.0 million under the Research and
Related Activities account “to further develop the scope and
cost adjustments, to maintain the momentum and personnel base
within the U.S. side of the project, and to test the 2 antenna
prototypes with our European partners.” Further review may
determine that it is more appropriate to fund this project
within the Major Research Equipment budget. No funding is
requested in FY 2002 for the High-performance Instrumented
Airborne Platform for Environmental Research, a new
atmospheric research aircraft. Funding was complete in FY
2001 for the South Pole Station Modernization program. The
South Pole Safety Project is to be operational by FY 2002.
Polar Support Aircraft Upgrades are scheduled for completion
in FY 2001.


The U.S. Polar Research Programs budget would increase 1.5%,
or $3.17 million, from $210.80 million to $213.97 million.
There are five budgets within this Activity, which funds most
of NSF’s polar research.

The U.S. Arctic Research Program would increase 6.4%, or $2.0
million, from $31.14 million to $33.14 million. The U.S.
Arctic Research Support and Logistics budget would remain
level at $23.96 million. The Arctic Research Commission
budget would increase 1.4%, or $0.01 million, from $1.00 to
$1.02 million. The U.S. Antarctic Research Grants Program
budget would increase 2.1%, or $0.75 million, from $36.50
million to $37.25 million. The budget for Operations and
Science Support would increase 0.3%, or $0.41 million, from
$118.20 million to $118.61 million.

The budget document describes two FY 2002 priorities for the
Arctic Research Program: “NSF, in cooperation with other
federal agencies, plans to initiate support for a broad,
interdisciplinary, multi-scale program with the aim of
understanding the complex suite of recent and ongoing
interrelated environmental – atmospheric, oceanic, and
terrestrial – changes. Plans for the program, known as Study
of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), include: a long-term
observational program to track environmental changes; a
modeling program to test hypotheses about the coupling between
the different environmental components and predict future
changes; process studies to test hypotheses about critical
feedbacks; and an assessment component to understand the
ultimate impact of the change on the ecosystem and society.”
Also, “Support for merit reviewed oceanographic research using
the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy. The Healey is the first
U.S. research vessel capable of providing access to the entire
Arctic Ocean.”

The FY 2002 priorities for the U.S. Antarctic Research Grants
Program are described in the budget document: “Preliminary
support for Antarctic sub-glacial lake characterization and
study, including Lake Vostok. Recent results have revealed
that life has evolved in total darkness and in isolation from
the atmosphere in a number of lakes buried beneath two miles
of glacial ice. Support will include analysis of airborne
ice-penetrating radar and laser altimetry, gravity, and
magnetics data, as well as acquisition and initial analysis of
basic land surface data in support of polar ecosystems
characterization research.” Also, “Support for a polar
genomics activity. Evolutionary adaption to polar
environments has been discovered in microorganisms at the
genomic level, setting the stage for new areas of research
addressing questions that range from evolutionary biology to
the interplay between the environment and gene expression.”

A second component of the U.S. Polar Programs budget is the
U.S. Antarctic Logistical Support Activities. Its budget
would increase 0.2%, or $0.14 million, from $62.46 million to
$62.60 million.


Richard M. Jones

Public Information Division

The American Institute of Physics


(301) 209-3095