Bypass Navigation
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mathematical and Physical Sciences $941,570,000

The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Activity is $941.57 million, an increase of $21.12 million, or 2.3 percent, over the FY 2002 Current Plan of $920.45 million.

(Millions of Dollars)

     

FY 2001
Actual

FY 2002
Current
Plan

FY 2003
Request

Change

Amount

Percent

Astronomical Sciences

148.74

165.86

161.25

-4.61

-2.8%

Chemistry

154.28

162.89

160.80

-2.09

-1.3%

Materials Research

209.67

219.51

219.32

-0.19

-0.1%

Mathematical Sciences

121.44

151.48

181.87

30.39

20.1%

Physics

187.54

195.88

193.31

-2.57

-1.3%

Multidisciplinary Activities

32.41

24.83

25.02

0.19

0.8%

Total, MPS

$854.08

$920.45

$941.57

$21.12

2.3%

Totals may not add due to rounding.

The Mathematical and Physical Sciences Activity (MPS) supports a strong and diverse portfolio of research and education in astronomical sciences, chemistry, materials research, mathematical sciences and physics. The purpose of this work is threefold: to deepen our understanding of the physical universe; to use this understanding in service to society; and to prepare the next generation of scientists who are essential for continued progress. The mathematical and physical sciences underpin many other scientific endeavors and serve as the training ground for at least half of all doctoral scientists now employed in U.S. industry. The MPS Activity supports areas of inquiry that are critical for long-term U.S. economic strength and security, providing a substantial portion of federal funding for fundamental research at academic institutions in these areas, and in some subfields, provides for most of the federal investment.

The new opportunities are many. Research at the atomic level will result in a period of discovery that could be termed a "molecular revolution." The study of complex chemical and physical systems offers critical insights into climate change and other natural phenomena. Biological systems can be understood and controlled via powerful mathematical and physical techniques, such as the creation of algorithms critical for drug design and for the development of biopolymers, gels, and other biomolecular materials. Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics is leading to profound new understandings of the physics of the universe. New tools critical to scientific progress - from advanced magnets, to novel sensors, to quantum computers, to more powerful telescopes - are being developed and refined, and will make possible the understanding of physical phenomena at a much more profound level. Essential to achieving these goals is the development of new mathematical tools and algorithms for modeling and simulation of physical and biological phenomena.

MPS places a high priority on multidisciplinary work and on partnerships. The Multidisciplinary Activities Subactivity is designed to catalyze efforts in emerging areas of research and education at disciplinary boundaries. By fostering closer connections with other federal agencies, state governments, industry, and other countries, MPS investigators enhance the impact of their efforts and increase the return on NSF investments.

International partnerships are critical to progress, both intellectually and financially, especially in the areas of astronomy, physics, and materials research, all of which require the use of large facilities. An example is the strong international cooperation that the Astronomy Subactivity has generated in support of the Gemini Observatories. Another is the collaboration with the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science and with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) that the Physics Subactivity has pursued toward the development of detectors for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

World leadership in science is a critical objective for the Foundation. Receipt of Nobel Prizes by MPS-supported physical scientists and Fields Medals by MPS-supported mathematical scientists is a strong indicator of the long-term importance of MPS research. The 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three researchers - Eric Cornell of the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) & the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Wolfgang Ketterle of MIT, and Carl Wieman of the University of Colorado - for their achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates. The Bose-Einstein Condensate is regarded as a new state of matter in which all the constituents, by virtue of their near-absolute zero low temperature, are in the same quantum state, much as the light from a laser for which all the light is emitted with a single lock-step phase, e.g. coherent. For this new state of matter, the corresponding atom waves are coherent, such that when two separate condensates are allowed to overlap, the resulting intensity pattern shows light and dark interference fringes rather than simple additive densities. Current speculation suggests that this new level of "control" of matter is going to bring revolutionary applications in such fields as precision measurement and nanotechnology.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001 was awarded to William S. Knowles, Monsanto (retired); Ryoji Noyori, Nagoya University; and K. Barry Sharpless, Scripps Research Institute for their development of catalytic techniques for asymmetric chemical synthesis. In nature, many molecules are found in mirror image, right-handed or left-handed, forms. Often only one of these asymmetric forms is biologically active. Sharpless developed highly efficient catalytic synthetic techniques to selectively produce only one of these mirror image forms. These techniques have allowed pharmaceutical companies to synthesize only the mirror image form that they want. The catalytic techniques developed as a result of this basic research, supported by MPS since the 1970s, are now used by pharmaceutical companies to produce, for example, beta-blocker medication to control blood pressure.

In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks on the United States, and our nation's response to them, it is important to consider the dramatic effects that the U.S. investment in fundamental physical sciences and mathematics has had - and will have - on preparing the national defense.

It is a remarkable fact that U.S. casualties in the Gulf War, in Bosnia, and so far in Afghanistan have been almost non-existent, even though in each of these conflicts basic U.S. objectives were achieved. These results are not by accident, and have come about because of our ability to fight a war "remotely". In significant measure this is due to such recent advances as:

  • The development of ultra-precise atomic clocks, and special and general relativity, that have enabled the construction of the GPS navigation system;

  • The development of ultra-precise laser ranging and surveillance techniques;

  • The development of genetically-designed bacterial systems, as well as other kinds of nano-assemblies involving DNA, that glow only in the presence of a targeted pollutant, making possible the creation of very sensitive probes for rapid detection of specific chemical or biological activity that may be in the environment. This work has already been applied to the detection of anthrax spores;

  • The development of "adaptive optics" for use in the creation of ultra-high resolution spy satellites, cameras, and other surveillance means - including the elimination of radio-frequency "jamming" signals that might otherwise block battlefield communications; and

  • The recently developed mathematical theory of wavelets has had a profound impact on data compression, signal analysis, scientific calculation, medical imaging and radar detection.  Wavelets identify the key features of an image and allow reconstruction of the image with only a tiny amount of information on the original object. 

Tools such as these have had an enormous positive impact on national security. Each of these developments is the outgrowth of many years of fundamental research, without which none of them would have been conceived of as an initial objective. In the future we will need new advances such as these, most of which cannot be envisioned today.

In FY 2003, MPS will support research and education efforts related to broad, Foundation-wide priority areas in Biocomplexity in the Environment, Information Technology Research, Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Learning for the 21st Century Workforce, and Mathematical Sciences.

Biocomplexity in the Environment (BE): In FY 2003, the MPS request includes $4.70 million for Biocomplexity in the Environment, a decrease of $650,000 from the FY 2002 Current Plan. MPS continues to support a variety of activities aimed at understanding environmental processes at the molecular level, adapting advanced statistical techniques to analyze environmental data, and developing environmentally benign materials and processes. Examples of MPS supported research includes the development of efficient catalysts for the removal of noxious species from combustion exhaust, development of statistical models to describe spatial and temporal variations of pollutant concentrations, and the development of sensitive and specific techniques for sensing chemical and biological agents in the environment.

In FY 2003, activities will be supported to integrate molecular level studies already under way with global studies of geochemical and geophysical cycles. Support will continue for the development of new or adaptation of existing instrumentation for monitoring the environment. MPS will also support the development of mathematical and statistical techniques to aid in the analysis of environmental data and the extrapolation of the data in time and space. A critical aspect of MPS supported research in this area will be the development of a skilled, multidisciplinary workforce and the creation of an informed public.

Information Technology Research (ITR): All of the MPS Subactivities contribute to the national effort in ITR. Large-scale computational science, as practiced by researchers in astronomy, chemistry, materials research and physics, has dramatically improved our understanding of fundamental scientific phenomena at all time and length scales. Today, computation is increasingly being used to provide a quantitative comparison with experiment, as a predictive tool when analytic theory cannot be applied or to generate needed data where experiment is difficult or impossible to perform. Algorithms, imaging methods, and cryptographic techniques that are needed across an enormous spectrum of activity in science, engineering, national defense, and business have been developed or refined by MPS researchers. In addition, the need for increasingly sophisticated techniques for gathering, transmitting, manipulating, storing and analyzing experimental data in the physical sciences has compelled MPS researchers to venture into new and unexplored areas of information science. In many cases, these have grown naturally from MPS research in various areas which have the potential of bringing about entirely new ways of computing, such as quantum or biological (DNA) based computing. In the former area, the rules of quantum mechanics are exploited to expand our ability to store and process information while in the latter, the molecular complexity of bio-molecules is used to manipulate and store information.

MPS support for ITR will total $35.52 million in FY 2003, an increase of $2.46 million over the FY 2002 Current Plan. This investment will focus on specific thrusts that include:

  • Essential contributions to algorithm development, statistical analysis, optimization theory, network design, the physics of information, understanding the limits to computation, and the fundamentals of quantum, biological, molecular and optical computing;

  • The development of ultra-miniature chemical switches, gates, new realizations of electronics and photonics, nano-devices, spintronics and totally new possibilities such as quantum, biological, molecular and optical computers; and

  • Advanced computational methods resulting, for example, in the design of more effective drugs and specialized materials, understanding the formation of galaxies and the intricacies of the atomic, molecular, electronic and nuclear many-body problem.

Nanoscale Science and Engineering: In FY 2003, the MPS request includes $103.92 million for nanoscale science and engineering, an increase of $10.84 million over the FY 2002 Current Plan. MPS grantees have contributed significantly to many of the exciting advances made over the past year, which illustrate both the scientific fascination and the technological potential of nanoscale phenomena and structures. For example, at the extreme nanoscale limit, artificial atoms and molecules can now be fabricated. Researchers at Cornell University are exploring the fundamental physical processes at work in this new regime, including how individual quantum states can be manipulated for sensor and memory applications.

In FY 2003, MPS will continue to play a major role in the NSF contribution to the interagency National Nanotechnology Initiative. MPS participation will be especially critical in the area of Nanoscale Structures, Phenomena and Quantum Control. MPS support will also contribute significantly to the overall NSF effort including Multi-scale, Multi-phenomena Modeling and Simulation at the Nanoscale; Nanostructures in the Environment; Biosystems at the Nanoscale; Manufacturing; and Device and Systems Architecture. An integral component of this priority area includes the preparation and training of the future workforce for this technologically pivotal field.

Mathematical Sciences: In FY 2003, the MPS request includes $47.39 million for the Mathematical Sciences priority area, an increase of $17.39 million over the FY 2002 Current Plan. Science and engineering are becoming more dependent on mathematical and statistical methods, not only in the physical, engineering and informational sciences, but also the biological, geophysical, environmental, social, behavioral, and economic sciences. Hence, progress in science and engineering is fundamentally linked with advances across the mathematical sciences and thus the mathematical sciences play a crucial role in reshaping modern science and engineering. Primarily through the Division of Mathematical Sciences, MPS plays a central role in the support of the mathematical sciences.

The mathematical sciences priority area encompasses interdisciplinary efforts between mathematics and all areas of science, engineering and science education. The MPS investments in the priority area will fall into three primary components: (1) fundamental mathematical and statistical sciences, (2) interdisciplinary research connecting the mathematical sciences with science and engineering, and (3) mathematical sciences education.

The fundamental mathematical sciences are essential not only for the progress of research across disciplines, but they are also critical in training a scientific workforce for the future. MPS will provide improved support for mathematical sciences through focused research groups and individual investigator grants, as well as through institute and postdoctoral training activities.

Built upon a $30.0 million investment for interdisciplinary mathematics in FY 2002, MPS will initially emphasize three broad interdisciplinary research themes for FY 2003:

  • The mathematical and statistical challenges posed by large data sets such as those generated by genomics research, satellite observation systems, seismic networks, global oceanic and atmospheric observation networks, automated physical science instruments, and modern engineering sensor and actuator systems.

  • Managing and modeling uncertainty, where improved methods for assessing uncertainty will increase the utility of models across the sciences and engineering and result in better predictions of extreme or singular events, thus improving the safety and reliability in such systems as power grids, the Internet, and air traffic control.

  • Modeling complex nonlinear systems, where across the sciences there is a great need to analyze and predict emergent complex properties, from social behaviors to brain function, and from communications networks to multi-scale business information systems.

To enhance research in these areas of science and engineering that depend on crosscutting themes in the mathematical sciences, MPS support will encompass such efforts as interdisciplinary focused research groups, interdisciplinary cross-training programs, and partnership activities with other NSF Activities and Federal Agencies. Education and training activities will support the advancement of mathematical skills and the mathematical sciences workforce, with support for undergraduate and graduate education and postdoctoral training coupled with curriculum reform.

Learning for the 21st Century Workforce: MPS support for this priority area in FY 2003 will total $5.97 million, an increase of $970,000 over the FY 2002 Current Plan. This includes continued support for the GK-12 program, the Digital Library program, the Centers for Learning and Teaching program, and for the Interagency Education Research Initiative, a collaborative program with the Department of Education and the National Institutes of Health.

STRATEGIC GOALS

MPS's support for ongoing and new activities contributes to NSF efforts to achieve its strategic goals, as well as to the administration and management activities necessary to achieve those goals. MPS's investment in NSF's strategic goals is as follows:

(Millions of Dollars)

 

FY 2001
Actual

FY 2002
Estimate

FY 2003
Estimate

Percent
Change

People

87.52

100.41

116.53

16.1%

Ideas

553.59

588.60

597.11

1.4%

Tools

208.48

226.60

222.49

-1.8%

Administration and Management1

4.49

4.84

5.44

12.4%

Total, MPS

$854.08

$920.45

$941.57

2.3%

Totals may not add due to rounding.
1 Includes only costs charged to the Research and Related Activities Appropriation.

People

People are NSF's most important product. At NSF, placing research and learning hand-in-hand is our highest priority, and the people involved in our projects represent the focus of our investments. Across its programs, MPS provides support for approximately 20,000 people, including teachers, students, researchers, post-doctorates, and trainees. Support for programs specifically addressing NSF's strategic outcome of People - "developing a diverse, internationally competitive and globally-engaged workforce of scientists, engineers and well-prepared citizens" totals more than $116.53 million in FY 2003, an increase of $16.12 million, or 16.1 percent, over FY 2002.

A well prepared, broadly trained, and internationally capable workforce that draws from the nation's entire talent pool is critical to U.S. security and to its technological and economic leadership. This workforce will be responsible for bringing forth the ideas and discoveries that expand the frontiers of understanding, for developing and using the new tools that enable discovery and learning in this new millennium, and for strengthening the educational systems and processes that will prepare future generations of scientifically literate citizens. Through its investment in research and education activities of individual investigators, groups, centers, and facilities, MPS enables the development of this critically important workforce.

Moreover, about 45 percent of the funding for research grants -- an amount approaching $260 million in FY 2003 -- provides support for researchers and students, including approximately 12,000 post-doctorates, trainees, and graduate and undergraduate students. Although MPS spends approximately one-third of its budget on graduate education and postdoctoral training, funding identified in the table below includes only dedicated education and training activities supported by MPS alone and in partnership with other Activities, and excludes the much more extensive education and training activities supported by MPS through research awards and those taking place at centers and facilities.

(Millions of Dollars)

   

FY 2002
Estimate

FY 2003
Estimate

Percent
Change

K-12

6.33

6.23

-1.6%

Undergraduate

21.01

22.46

6.9%

Graduate/Professional

71.07

85.34

20.1%

Other

2.00

2.50

25.0%

Total, MPS

$100.41

$116.53

16.1%

Totals may not add due to rounding.

MPS programs such as Research Experiences for Teachers, an effort of high school outreach by individual investigators, centers and facilities, and Research Sites for Educators in Chemistry enable improved mathematics, science, and technology skills at the K-16 level and enhanced understanding of science by the public. Increased diversity in the science and technology and instructional workforce is facilitated through MPS support of partnerships between minority-serving institutions and MPS centers and facilities, through the more than 200 MPS-supported REU Sites (whose participant cohort is over 50% female and more than 15% minority), and through a spectrum of developmental workshops and conferences.

MPS also promotes the global engagement of science and engineering professionals through support of cooperative international research projects and international research fellowships, advanced study institutes, and disciplinary workshops.

The FY 2003 MPS investments in People include:

  • At the K-12 level, total support will be $6.23 million, a decrease of $100,000. MPS will maintain its investment in the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program that enriches K-12 teachers by providing discovery-based learning experiences that will transfer to their classrooms from work performed at MPS centers, facilities, and REU Sites. Also, the Centers for Learning and Teaching, initiated in FY 2002 jointly with the EHR Activity, will be continued (at $1.0 million) as will web-based education activities that engage both K-12 teachers and students in a broad spectrum of MPS science.

  • At the undergraduate level, MPS investment will be $22.46 million. This will enable continued support of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program through funding of REU sites, and through REU supplements to individual investigator and group research grants. In partnership with the EHR Activity, the development of digital libraries with increased MPS-relevant content will continue to be supported. Also in FY 2003, integrative multidisciplinary undergraduate education and research training activities that focus on quality non-doctoral institutions will be developed jointly with the BIO and other NSF Activities.

  • MPS support at the graduate and professional level will increase in FY 2003 by $14.27 million to $85.34 million. In this area, investment in the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT), CAREER, and ADVANCE programs will be increased. The Vertical Integration of Research and Education in the Mathematical Sciences (VIGRE) program, which seeks to increase the number of U.S. citizens, nationals, and permanent residents who pursue careers in the mathematical sciences, will be expanded significantly to $26.0 million. Investment in the broadened training of graduate students and postdoctorals in MPS disciplines will be increased and support will be provided for senior faculty to expand the disciplinary scope of their research programs, particularly at the interfaces with the BIO and GEO activities. Support for the Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship and the MPS Distinguished International Postdoctoral Research Fellowship programs will be maintained. Investment in cooperative international training-through-research activities that increase the global competitiveness of U.S. scientists, engineers, postdoctorals, and graduate students in the MPS disciplines will be increased.

  • MPS will support public science education at the level of $2.50 million. Investment in the MPS Internships in Public Science Education (IPSE) program, begun in FY 2001, will be increased to $2.25 million. This program supports undergraduate and graduate students and K-12 teachers to partner with MPS research scientists and with professionals at science centers and museums on projects in public science education. Museum exhibits such as the Smithsonian Institution's exhibit on astrophysics and cosmology, "Exploring the Universe," and science centers and visitors' centers at research facilities such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) are effective venues for engaging the public in the excitement of scientific discovery.

Ideas

MPS supports a broad range of research activities aimed at addressing some of the most fundamental questions that can be asked about the universe in which we live as well as activities that provide the understanding necessary for the development of new capabilities that enhance mankind's ability to survive and flourish in this environment. MPS-supported scientists are investigating the origins of the universe and solar system, and they are developing theories of why matter exists. They are also developing the techniques necessary to design and synthesize new materials with useful and predictable chemical and physical properties. In addition they are applying sophisticated mathematical and statistical techniques to areas as diverse as medical imaging and voting behavior. Support for Ideas accounts for about two-thirds of the funding in the MPS Activity. Awards range from support of single investigators to centers or groups of investigators.

An increasing number of interesting and important research activities are found at the intersection of the mathematical and physical and other sciences such as biology and the geological sciences. Problems in these areas require expertise from a number of disciplines for their solution. In a continuation of activities initiated in FY 2002 MPS is joining with the Biological Sciences Activity (BIO) to jointly review and fund proposals in this boundary area. MPS will also be joining with the Geosciences Activity (GEO) to develop mechanisms for responding to research opportunities in the new and evolving multidisciplinary areas at this boundary.

Funding for fundamental research will be supported at $597.11 million in FY 2003, an increase of $8.51 million over FY 2002. Interdisciplinary research is becoming an increasingly important aspect of progress in all of the sciences. In FY 2003, funding will focus on the following areas characterizing a large portion of the MPS portfolio:

  • Mathematics: Today's advances in science and engineering, driven in part by increasingly sophisticated and readily available computing environments, lift the mathematical sciences to the forefront of science and engineering research and reshape modern science and engineering discovery through quantitative predictions, modeling, visualization, computational algorithms, and optimization methods. Science and engineering are becoming more mathematical and statistical, not only in the physical, engineering and informational sciences, but also the biological, geophysical, environmental, social, behavioral, and economic sciences. While mathematical sciences are pervasive in science, technology and health, mathematics and statistics are often an invisible partner, encapsulated in algorithms, models, and software packages. Providing a rich descriptive, quantitative, and predictive language for science and engineering, today's mathematical sciences (1) develop models and simulations to complement theory and computation, (2) provide the geometrization of science through descriptions of shape, motion and symmetry, (3) provide structure to randomness and massive data sets, (4) describe the nonlinearity of 21st century complex phenomena, and (5) contribute to national needs through genome sequencing, predicting disease spread, providing secure telecommunications, or real-time inverse imaging from physical terrain to human brain functions.

  • Origins of the Universe: The advances made by astronomers in understanding the universe as a whole as well as the objects within it, coupled with the advances made by physicists in understanding the deepest inner workings of matter, space and time have brought us to a special moment in our journey to understand the universe and the physical laws that govern it. The questions now being asked about the universe are among the most profound questions that human beings have ever posed about the cosmos: What is the nature of the dark matter that holds galaxies and clusters of galaxies together yet gives off no light? What is the nature of the "dark energy" whose gravity is repulsive rather than attractive? How did the universe begin? Do planetary systems and life exist elsewhere in the universe? These critical questions require many complementary contributions from astrophysics, particle physics, gravitational physics, astrochemistry and astrobiology, and the combined efforts of agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Energy in addition to NSF.

  • The Quantum Realm: The pace of discovery in the quantum realm is accelerating worldwide. This area of research covers diverse topics such as the fundamental makeup of matter, the nature of the chemical reactions, and the development of new materials. New phenomena are emerging as our probes are refined, and new areas of science are opening, some with enormous potential for practical application. For example, researchers are beginning to see ways of utilizing the quantum nature of elemental systems to create quantum computers able to tackle problems that are far beyond the scope of present day computers. Increasingly, scientists and engineers will view manipulation and control of the arrangement of individual atoms or molecules as a unifying theme, and functionality will become a predictable consequence of what they synthesize. Importantly, the excitement of this new science is capturing the imagination of the young people needed to build and sustain our scientific and technological future.

  • Molecular Connections: In recent years, our ability to observe and measure molecular level phenomena has increased dramatically. It is now possible to see and manipulate individual atoms and molecules and to measure phenomena such as chemical bond breaking and formation in real time and on the femtosecond timescale. Complementing these experimental capabilities are recent advances in mathematical and computational modeling that make it possible in many cases to predict physical and chemical properties of materials systems. These developments have permitted researchers to understand chemical and material properties at new levels of detail, and they have the potential to aid in the creation of future technologies critical to environmental, medical, and technological advances. Improved electronic and optical components, coatings, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals will continue to result from research in molecular science and engineering. Understanding phenomena at the molecular level is also critical to continued progress in genetics, neurobiology, ecosystem dynamics, climate studies, novel materials development, drug design and smart manufacturing. MPS will give high priority to the design, synthesis and characterization of nanostructures.

In FY 2003, MPS will continue its efforts to address the Foundation-wide concern about grant sizes by increasing the average size and duration of awards. MPS will also continue to emphasize competitive research grants for new investigators and investigators who are members of underrepresented groups.

In support of the increasingly complex and multidisciplinary nature of research, MPS also supports a number of centers:

(Millions of Dollars)

 

FY 2002
Estimate

FY 2003
Estimate

Percent
Change

Science and Technology Centers1

7.32

7.28

-0.5%

Materials Centers2

52.76

52.76

0.0%

Physics Frontiers Centers

12.00

13.00

8.3%

Mathematical Sciences Research Institutes

12.83

14.00

9.1%

Chemistry Centers

13.59

10.39

-23.5%

Nanoscale Science & Engineering Centers

6.31

6.31

0.0%

Total, MPS

$104.81

$103.74

-1.0%

Totals may not add due to rounding.
1Funding in FY 2002 represents support for the cohort of STCs awarded in FY 2000.
2Materials Centers includes support for MRSECs, International Materials Institutes and Collaboratives for Materials Research and Education.

Center-based research brings together scientists from diverse disciplines to work on complex problems, often in partnerships with other academic institutions, national laboratories, and industry. Centers are strongly committed to the integration of research and education at levels from pre-college to postdoctoral, they maintain sophisticated experimental facilities generally accessible to a broad range of users, and they play an important role in developing human resources in science and mathematics.

In FY 2003, MPS will support four Science and Technology Centers (STC); about 28 Materials Science and Engineering Research Centers (MRSEC) depending on the outcome of the open MRSEC competition in FY 2002; up to three International Materials Institutes as a result of the FY 2002 competition; approximately 20 Chemistry Centers pending the outcome of competitions in FY 2002; up to four new Physics Frontiers Centers (PFC); and up to three Mathematical Sciences Research Institutes (MSRI). Six Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers (NSECs) established in FY 2001 are supported in whole or in part by MPS.

MPS Centers integrate cutting-edge research with a broad spectrum of educational and outreach activities; they help to bring science and engineering to a wider audience and to foster international cooperation in research and education. For example, 450 undergraduates participated in summer research programs at the materials research centers in FY 2001, while 900 pre-college teachers participated in various MRSEC activities including the MPS-sponsored Research Experience for Teachers program. MPS Centers can also help to enhance minority participation in science and mathematics; for example, a new masters' program in materials physics, the first graduate program at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao, has been developed through collaboration with the MRSEC at the University of Pennsylvania.

In FY 2003, support for centers will include:

Support for international center-to-center collaboration in materials research and education will be enhanced by up to $1.0 million. The International Materials Institutes will foster interaction in materials research and education between U.S. and foreign investigators.

At least three additional Physics Frontiers Centers (PFC) will be established in addition to the four started in FY 2001. Total support for PFCs will increase from $12.0 million to $13.0 million. These centers will serve as focal points to help catalyze new fields, with the resources and infrastructure to enable development of the new tools and techniques needed, and to facilitate exploration of new directions in a way that is not practical in individual investigator awards.

An increase of $1.17 million will establish up to three new interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences Research Institutes (MSRI). The MSRIs address diverse challenges and opportunities facing the nation to which the mathematical sciences can contribute, and promote the integration of research and education.

Support decreases by $3.20 million to $10.39 million for Chemistry Centers, but the planned phase-out of some established centers will allow approximately 1-2 new Chemistry Centers in advanced molecular characterization and in environmental molecular science. Chemistry Centers serve to develop interdisciplinary collaborations in areas of chemistry ranging from environmental molecular research to femtosecond molecular structure characterization to the development of new techniques for rapid sequencing of proteins.

Tools

Today the pace and breadth of scientific discovery is growing at an unprecedented rate, driven by numerous revolutions in tools for science; and the U.S. has a leadership role in this process. Tools have allowed a stunning view into nature that has captured the imagination of the world - from the far reaches of the universe and the beginnings of time to the fundamental makeup of matter and the workings of life. Today's scientific agenda involves phenomena at or beyond the limits of our measurement capabilities, and can only be studied with new generations of powerful, complex, and costly tools. While the needed investment will have great scientific payoff, investment in instrumentation has many other payoffs, such as the training of our workforce and the next generation of leaders in science. This training is critical to our national security - in terms of our economic security, our energy security, and our technological and industrial base that supports homeland security and national defense.

Continued advances and leadership in astronomy, physics, and many areas of materials science depend critically on the availability of state-of-the-art user facilities to enable research and education at the cutting edge of science for large communities of university faculty and students. Investment in facilities necessarily requires support for ongoing operations, maintenance, and periodic upgrades to the core facility as well as to ancillary instrumentation that may be needed to provide continued forefront research opportunities to these users.

R&D towards new capabilities at existing facilities and for new facilities to meet the needs of the MPS disciplines is essential. Such activities include: R&D toward the next generation LIGO detectors, future accelerators at the energy frontier, and new capabilities at the national astronomy centers. In addition, MPS manages the U.S. Large Hadron Collider (LHC) detector construction project jointly with the Department of Energy and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) construction project jointly with international partners. Both projects represent the highest priorities within their respective user communities - the astronomy community and the elementary particle physics community. Both are funded through the Major Research Equipment and Facility Construction (MREFC) Account. For additional information, see the MREFC Account section.

(Millions of Dollars)

   

FY 2002
Estimate

FY 2003
Estimate

Percent
Change

LIGO

25.95

29.50

13.7%

Gemini Observatories

12.26

12.60

2.8%

Cornell Electron Storage Ring

19.49

19.49

0.0%

MSU National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory

14.46

14.70

1.7%

National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

24.97

24.00

-3.9%

National Astronomy Centers

86.53

84.33

-2.5%

Other Facilities1

18.24

14.87

-18.5%

Research Resources2

24.70

23.00

-6.9%

Total Facilities Support, MPS

$226.60

$222.49

-1.8%

1Includes the Indiana University Cyclotron Facility, Wisconsin Synchrotron Radiation Center, Cornell High-Energy Synchrotron Source, NIST Neutron Scattering Facility, National Nanofabrication Users Network, National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National High Field Mass Spectrometry Center, and Digital Library.
2Includes Divisional instrumentation programs in Astronomy, Chemistry, Materials Research, and Mathematics.

In FY 2003, major facilities support includes the following:

  • An increase of $3.55 million, to a total of $29.50 million, for support of full operation of the two LIGO sites in Hanford, Washington and Livingston Parish, Louisiana. The FY 2003 funds will provide for operations and research staff support for running the two sites and continued improvement of the gravitational strain sensitivity.

  • An increase of $340,000 to a total of $12.60 million provides NSF's contribution to support the Gemini Observatories, the premier optical/infrared facility available to the entire U.S. astronomical community. Both the northern and southern Gemini telescopes are now in regular science operations. Activities for Gemini in FY 2003 will include continued instrument commissioning and development of advanced instrumentation. The expansion of the public information and outreach effort that began in FY 2002 will continue.

  • Funding is maintained at $19.49 million for the Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR) for support of operations of the facility and its research programs in elementary particle physics and in advanced accelerator physics. CESR serves a broad user community and continues to be a world-leading center for precision tests of the standard model of the electro-weak force. The current program using the CLEO detector and focusing on B-meson physics will shift to precision studies in the charmed meson sector. In accelerator physics, CESR is carrying out world-leading studies of superconducting radio frequency technology and beam dynamics for particle accelerators at the energy and intensity frontiers.

  • A total of $14.70 million for Michigan State University's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL), an increase of $240,000. FY 2003 funding provides for near full operations and research at this unique radioactive ion beam facility, which provides important research opportunities for hundreds of users of the NSCL, with particular emphasis on astrophysics, a continued high priority within nuclear science and within physics overall.

  • Funding for the NHMFL decreases by $970,000 in FY 2003 to a total of $24.00 million. This follows a one-time increment of $1.47 million provided in FY 2002 to cover increased energy costs over the period from 2002 to 2005. In FY 2003, $500,000 will be provided for enhanced instrumentation. The NHMFL provides world leadership in high magnetic field capability with a unique set of continuous and pulsed-field magnets, supporting the research needs of hundreds of researchers across a broad spectrum of science and technology. The NHMFL is operated by Florida State University, the University of Florida, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and is funded in partnership by NSF, DOE, and the State of Florida.

  • Funding for the operation of the three national astronomy centers is $84.33 million and provides continued support for enhanced levels of maintenance and facilities upgrades. These centers provide observing capability in the radio and optical/infrared regions of the spectrum for all scientists on the basis of scientific merit. The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) ($31.70 million, a decrease of $1.0 million) maintains observing capabilities at optical/infrared wavelengths in both the northern and southern hemispheres. The Telescope Systems Instrumentation Program (TSIP), which will be administered through NOAO, will provide $4.0 million, unchanged from FY 2002, in instrument development and facilities improvement to private observatories and partnerships in exchange for public access. The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) and the Very Large Array (VLA) of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) ($39.63 million, a decrease of $800,000) provide very high-resolution radio images of celestial objects. NRAO's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, a 100-meter diameter radio telescope of unparalleled sensitivity, will be in full science operation in FY 2003, as will be the upgraded National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center's 1000-meter radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

  • A decrease of $3.60 million, corresponding to closure of the Indiana University Cyclotron Facility (IUCF).

  • $23.0 million will support Research Resources, including shared instrumentation for university departments, for new instrumentation development, and for facility-related instrument development and operation. This represents decrease of $1.70 million compared with FY 2002.

Funds are being spent for early planning, design and development of potential future facilities projects, listed below.

  • Rare Symmetry Violating Processes (RSVP). This project consists of two separate beam lines and detectors to be constructed at the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory in order to address profound questions at the frontier of elementary particle physics. The construction phase of this project is currently estimated to cost approximately $120 million. This project has been approved by the NSB for consideration for funding in a future NSF budget request. To date, approximately $2.80 million has been provided for R&D studies through the R&RA Account, and an additional $2.90 million is planned for FY 2003.

  • NSF Participation in the DOE Spallation Neutron Source (SNS). The SNS will produce the most intense beams of neutrons in the world, and provide unprecedented performance for neutron scattering research. The DOE and NSF will work in coordination to develop and support a world-class suite of instruments that makes optimal use of the SNS beams, and that will meet the needs of users across a broad range of disciplines including chemistry, physics, materials, engineering, geology and biology. The instrumentation phase of this project is currently estimated to cost approximately $300 million, of which NSF would contribute about $150 million. This project may be proposed for MREFC and/or R&RA funding at a later date. To date, approximately $1.50 million has been provided through the R&RA Account for initial R&D. Up to an additional $3.0 million may be provided through R&RA Account for beamline instrumentation in FY 2003.

  • The Advanced LIGO is currently envisioned as an enhancement of LIGO capabilities to 10 times the current planned sensitivity. This will allow observation of a volume of the universe 1,000 times larger than the initial LIGO; this enhancement was foreseen at the time the initial construction commenced. The construction phase of the Advanced LIGO is estimated to cost approximately $110 million, and may be proposed for MREFC and/or R&RA funding at a later date. To date, approximately $10.63 million have been provided in R&RA Account for this effort, and an additional $2.39 million is planned for FY 2003.

  • The Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) is currently envisioned as a 4-meter diameter optical telescope that will observe details in optical and infrared solar light about 10 times the resolution that is currently achievable. The construction phase of this project is estimated to cost approximately $60 million, and may be proposed for MREFC and/or R&RA funding at a later date. To date, approximately $2.90 million for R&D activities has been provided through the R&RA Account for this effort, and an additional $2.70 million is planned for FY 2003.

  • The Next Linear Collider (NLC) is currently envisioned as an electron-positron linear accelerator that produces collisions between its counter-rotating beams that is seen as a strong candidate to be the logical successor to the Large Hadron Collider as the discovery tool at the energy frontier of particle physics. The facility will be constructed as an international effort. Since the R&D and design phases have not been completed the cost of the facility is not known at this time, but it could be in the $5-10 billion range. Any NSF contribution to this international effort would be sought from the MREFC Account. To date, approximately $1.50 million has been provided from the R&RA Account for R&D efforts, and an additional $3.0 million is planned for FY 2003.

Although any facility project undertaken will be categorized as a Tool, early planning and development investments may fall within Ideas and will be funded within the Research and Related Activities Account. Whether a project ever becomes a candidate for the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction Account is determined by a systematic planning and review process to determine its scientific merit, feasibility, and readiness.

Administration and Management

Administration and Management provides for administrative activities necessary to enable NSF to achieve its strategic goals. Requested funding for FY 2003 is $5.44 million, an increase of $600,000 over FY 2002. This includes the cost of Intergovernmental Personnel Act appointments and contractors performing administrative functions, as well as administration and management of transferred programs.

Number of People Supported in MPS Activities

   

FY 2001
Actual

FY 2002
Estimate

FY 2003
Estimate

Senior Researchers

6,132

6,400

6,400

Other Professionals

1,121

1,170

1,170

Postdoctorates

2,148

2,240

2,240

Graduate Students

6,192

6,400

6,400

Undergraduate Students

3,051

3,200

3,200

K-12 Students

285

285

285

K-12 Teachers

668

700

700

Total Number of People

19,597

20,395

20,395

MPS Funding Profile

   

FY 2001
Actual

FY 2002
Estimate

FY 2003
Estimate

Number of Requests for Funding

8,458

8,500

8,500

Dollars Requested (in millions)

$6,770

$6,780

$6,800

         

Total Number of Awards

4,710

4,750

4,750

         

Statistics for Competitive Awards:

 
 

Number

1,855

1,900

1,900

 

Funding Rate

35%

35%

35%

         

Statistics for Research Grants:

   
 

Number of Research Grants

1,517

1,550

1,550

 

Median Annualized Award Size

$86,152

$88,000

$88,000

 

Average Annualized Award Size

$114,358

$120,000

$124,000

 

Average Award Duration, in years

2.9

3.0

3.0

 
  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004
 
   

 

Policies and Important Links

|

Privacy | FOIA | Help | Contact NSF | Contact Web Master | SiteMap  

National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: (703) 292-5111, FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749

Last Updated:
09/17/04
Text Only
National Science Foundation Summary of FY 2003 Budget Request to Congress NSF Logo