Published: March 2007,  Issue: Vol. 19/No.2, Download as PDF

Archive of articles published in the March 2007, Vol. 19/No.2 issue.

Congress Protects Science Funding in Final Appropriations

After several months fearing a freeze on federal science funding in FY 2007, the science community in late January breathed a collective sigh of relief as congressional appropriators reached an agreement on a final resolution for the year’s spending bills that would preserve increases for three key science agencies. The increases—proposed more than a year earlier by President Bush as part of his “American Competitiveness Initiative”—will put the research budgets of the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Department of Energy’s Office of Science on track to double over ten years.

SDSC: Harnessing Data for Science and Society

Stroll the halls of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), and a world of discovery—from the inner space of the mind to the outer space of the universe—is brought into focus. Images of neurotransmitters activating synapses, proteins docking into molecular targets, and animations of the birth of the solar system line the center’s corridors. What were once streams of mathematical theorems, equations and solutions are transformed into visual scenes, where the surreal approaches reality.

Gender Differences: Recognizing and Developing Potential in Female Students

Last year, a colleague in my department approached me with the following quandary: Why did his female student have difficulty working independently on her senior project, despite her demonstrated ability in his class? When we delved further, we discovered it was merely fear of failure and the need for reassurance, not a lack of ability, that caused her to give this impression. This led me to two questions—had she not been in his class, how would he have recognized her potential? How can he develop in her the confidence and independence necessary to succeed at competitive levels in academia?

Why We Go to the Woods

In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, why do we get up each day and work? To pay for groceries and make mortgage payments? Practical and necessary reasons, for sure. To conduct important research, educate students and make disciplinary contributions? These are the quantitative and qualitative metrics of success in our field, without doubt. Yet I suspect neither practicality nor disciplinary metrics are the real reasons we climb out of bed each morning. Rather, I believe that when we are circumspect, we know we are each driven by the desire to make a difference, to make the world a better place today than it was yesterday.

Continued Drop in CS Bachelor’s Degree Production and Enrollments

This article reports on CS bachelor’s degree enrollments and production among Ph.D.-granting departments in the United States since the late 1990s. In order to limit the effect of variations in response rates, data are reported in both total numbers and medians per department. Results from the Taulbee Survey should be compared with data produced by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which surveys all institutions that grant CS degrees. NSF’s most recent data are from academic year 2003/2004.