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NSF Congressional Highlight

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Meets With NSF-Funded Hazards Researchers, Reports Back to Senate

September 20, 2011

Photo of two men talking
NSF Director Subra Suresh and Senator Harry Reid.

Credit: U.S. Sergeant at Arms Photographic Studio
On September 7, 2011, NSF hosted a hazards research showcase on Capitol Hill in recognition of National Preparedness Month. In conjunction with the showcase, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) met with NSF Director Subra Suresh and Deputy Directory Cora Marrett. Reid toured exhibits and spoke with many of the researchers including two earthquake research groups from his home state of Nevada.

The following day, Reid referenced this event in his remarks on the Senate floor regarding funding for disaster preparedness and emergency response: "I went down to S-120 last night, and they had a number of scientists showing some of the things they have developed. One of the things they have developed--and these are things they have done at universities, handmade pieces of magnificent equipment that do many things--is something they can place in the path of a storm--they have never been able to do that before--to determine from which direction the wind is coming and how hard it blows. Without belaboring the point, one of the instruments there recorded the strongest winds ever recorded in the history of the world--more than 300 miles an hour. That is basically what we had in Joplin, Missouri. There is no building that can withstand that. It is devastating."

Photo of a group of people
Senator Harry Reid and NSF Director Subra Suresh hear from Nevada constituents, M. Saiid Saiidi (right) and Misha Raffiee (left), on earthquake research.

Credit: U.S. Sergeant at Arms Photographic Studio
The showcase featured more than 30 NSF-supported research groups who exhibited their research on disasters including tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, oil spills, floods, and hurricanes, as well as the human response to these events. The exhibits included an earthquake simulator, tornado pods, search-and-rescue robots, a flood flume, 3-D IMAX clips from "Tornado Alley," and unmanned aerial rescue vehicles. The researchers also demonstrated how these new tools can enable policymakers and disaster responders--on the federal, state and local levels--to better predict, prepare for, mitigate and respond to hazards that affect human life and property. Reid thanked NSF for hosting the event and for inviting Nevada's own earthquake research groups to participate. He indicated how an event such as this one is vital to keep disaster preparedness and response in the minds of policymakers and, ultimately, to protect the American public. He also noted how NSF's invitation, along with other leading national projects, speaks to the great work Nevada's own earthquake researchers are doing.

Photo of a group of people
Senator Harry Reid and NSF Director Subra Suresh meet with NSF-funded researchers.

Credit: U.S. Sergeant at Arms Photographic Studio
Other members of Congress who attended the event included Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla), Michael Bennet (D-Colo), and Jack Reed (D-RI), and Rep. Bill Flores (R-Tex). Several congressional committee and member office staff, and representatives of other federal agencies and scientific associations also attended.

In addition to NSF, the American Geophysical Union, the Congressional Hazards Caucus and the Woodrow Wilson Center co-sponsored the event.