National Science Board Approves Renewed Support for Magnetic Field Laboratory in Florida
On February 23, the National Science Board--policy-making body for the National Science Foundation (NSF)--approved a new phase of funding for the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL), authorizing NSF to fund further development of the laboratory with up to $87.5 million in support over 58 months. The State of Florida will support the facility with $41 million over the same period.
"The new laboratory is well on its way to becoming the world's preeminent facility for high magnetic field research and technology," says William Harris, NSF's assistant director for mathematical and physical sciences. "It will ensure the science and technology competitiveness of the United States in high magnetic field research well into the next century. Its scientific potential is enormous."
Established in 1990 as a cooperative venture between the University of Florida, Florida State University, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the NHMFL is already operating several world-class high field magnets. Such magnets support the development of materials such as the semiconductors, superconductors, and magnetic materials used in computers, visual displays, and magnetic resonance imaging, among other applications. In 1995, more than 200 user groups performed experiments at the facility, covering pure and applied research in a variety of disciplines -- condensed matter physics, chemistry, biology, materials science, engineering, and others.
The NHMFL also exemplifies the NSF's philosophy of supporting science through partnerships. The facility is built upon links between the state of Florida and the federal government, with NSF providing $66 million to the facility since 1991 and the state of Florida contributing $81 million to construct and equip the facility, along with funding a visitors' program and new faculty and laboratory staff. The NHMFL's facilities at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Los Alamos National Laboratory illustrate another partnership, as do collaboration with private industry and international programs with France, the European Community, and Japan. The laboratory also supports a strong educational outreach program, exemplified by internships for minority and female undergraduates that draw participants from across the country.
During the next five years covered by the renewal, the laboratory will complete a 45-Tesla hybrid magnet (one Tesla equals approximately 20,000 times the strength of the earth's magnetic field)--a joint project with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory. The pulsed magnet program with Los Alamos will grow, including a planned investment by DOE of about $6.25 million over approximately five years to build and operate a 100-Tesla non-destructive pulsed magnet.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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