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User Science Exhibition on Capitol Hill

According to a source from the DOE Office of Science, the April 7, 2011, the Inaugural User Science Exhibition hosted by the National User Facility Organization (NUFO) in Washington, DC was a “slam dunk” in terms of fulfilling its objective! This event, held in the Rayburn Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building, was organized to highlight the important role that scientific user facilities play in science education, economic competitiveness, fundamental knowledge, and scientific achievements.

Thirty-eight facility posters were prepared in response to an invitation by several Members of Congress to hold an exhibition on Capitol Hill to educate Members and staff about the significance of the research being conducted at national user facilities.

At least one user from each NUFO facility participated in this event. Participants spent time talking with facility users, studying posters, watching a streaming video of images from each of the NUFO facilities, and learning more about the accomplishments and achievements of facility users. Attendees at this public exhibit included Congressional Leaders (both Senators and Representatives and their staff members), management from the DOE Office of Science, four National Laboratory Directors, a representative from the National Science Foundation, and representatives from a number of science agencies or societies such as the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Physics, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Physics Today, Coalition for National Science Funding, ASTRA, and the American Astronomical Society, among others.

Despite the looming deadline of April 8 for resolution of the FY 2010 budget impasse and the potential for a next-day government shutdown, the focus of the entire session was on accomplishments and benefits. Speaking briefly during the Exhibition, Dr. Rene Bellwied, NUFO Chair, identified the key role that national user facilities play in facilitating science by providing the capabilities for key discoveries that advance new technologies and stimulate economic growth. Dr. Stephen Wasserman, Director, Translational Science & Technologies/Beamline Eli Lilly and Company, addressed the importance to his company’s drug-development efforts of the research conducted regularly at a number of facilities represented at the Exhibition. Dr. Thom Mason, Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, reinforced Bellwied’ comments, and then further stressed the research benefits of co-located user facilities at National Laboratories. The Honorable Charles Fleishmann (R-TN), spoke last, stressing his support for science and its role on the economic future of our country and thanking NUFO for arranging the Exhibition to educate participants.

Overall, the NUFO Steering Committee was pleased with the success of this inaugural venture and thanks all of the individuals and groups that participated in and supported it. With several invitations from both the Senate and the House, NUFO will shortly begin work on planning for the next User Science Exhibition.

2011-2389  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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