US Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced a major funding jolt for science in the United States while visiting Brookhaven National Laboratory on Monday, March 23.
Welcomed by Lab Director Sam Aronson and introduced by US Representative Tim Bishop, Chu announced that DOE's Office of Science will receive a $1.2 billion investment through President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funding will support an array of Office of Science-sponsored construction, laboratory infrastructure, and research projects across the nation. Brookhaven will receive $184.3 million of that total.
Plans Chu also announced include the president's pledge to double the science budget over the next ten years. The president's 10-year budget also allots $15 billion per year for research and development of clean renewable energy and extends the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit with hopes of making it permanent.
The $184.3 million allotted for Brookhaven will be used to start construction of the National Synchrotron Light Source II, a new $912 million project approved to start construction earlier this year by DOE.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu (second from left) at the STAR Detector at Brookhaven's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider with (from left) Steven Vigdor, Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear & Particle Physics; Lab Director Sam Aronson; and U.S. Representative Tim Bishop.
Throughout his talk, Chu emphasized how basic scientific research and new ideas are vital for the future. "National security and economic prosperity is linked with access to clean, affordable energy, and we must minimize the risk of adverse climate change," Chu stated.
Chu also discussed challenges such as the need to develop new batteries to power plug-in hybrid cars as well as methods to produce biofuels without reducing the amount of food needed to feed populations.
This was Chu's first visit to a national laboratory since he was appointed to the role of Secretary of Energy in January 2009.
Chu's visit to Brookhaven began with a tour of several of the Lab's largest facilities including the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, the National Synchrotron Light Source, and the STAR detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.