Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Speaking of Science: Shutdown and science

Speaking of Science
Talk nerdy to us

A sign on the door of The National Museum of the American Indian states that the museum is closed as the partial shutdown of the U.S. government goes into the 12th day, on Jan. 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The government shutdown has wreaked havoc on scientific progress, as The Post reported last week. Because the shutdown has lasted into the new year, the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed. Visitors are barred from seeing the pandas and the Hope Diamond. And Smithsonian scientists around the world must return home.

They must go silent, too, which is sure to frustrate their collaborators. "You absolutely cannot use your government email," Nick Pyenson, curator of fossil marine mammals at the National Museum of Natural History, told me last week. "You are not allowed to communicate, period."

Has the shutdown affected your science? A few readers chimed in via email: "The proposal review process is interrupted and the flow of research is correspondingly disrupted. I will have a lot of catching up to do once my active status is restored," said a furloughed NSF employee.

One reader mentioned that more than 3,000 scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology's labs in Gaithersburg and Boulder have been furloughed, too.

If you have a perspective on science and the shutdown, let me know at: ben.guarino@washpost.com.


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