This document has been archived.

Skip To Content Skip To Left Navigation
NSF Logo Search GraphicGuide To Programs GraphicImage Library GraphicSite Map GraphicHelp GraphicPrivacy Policy Graphic
OLPA Header Graphic

News Tip


February 4, 2002

For more information on these science news and feature story tips, please contact the public information officer at the end of each item at (703) 292-8070. Editor: Josh Chamot

NSF'S Fiscal 2003 Budget Called Blueprint for the Future

In announcing the National Science Foundation's (NSF) budget request for fiscal 2003, NSF Director Rita Colwell called the request "not just a balance sheet…(but a) blueprint for our nation's future." The NSF 2003 request was announced on February 4, along with the rest of the Administration's federal budget. NSF is requesting $5 billion -- $240 million (or five percent) over the previous year, "to enrich Americans' health, security, environment, economy and general well-being," Colwell explained.

"For the United States to stay on the leading edge of discovery and innovation, we cannot do less," said Colwell. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, the stakes could not be higher, she emphasized.

"The future of our nation - indeed, the future of our world - are more dependent than ever before upon advances in science and technology. An inspired American scientific community is now focused on ensuring not just our security, but our very quality of life." [Mary Hanson]

For details on the NSF budget request for FY03, see:

Top of Page

"Shakezone" Exhibit Marks Anniversary of Northridge Earthquake

ShakeZone, an interactive earthquake exhibit that is the first of its kind, has opened at the Riverside County, California, Youth Museum. Funded, in part, by NSF through the Southern California Earthquake Center in Los Angeles, it marks the eighth anniversary of the January 1994, Northridge Earthquake.

"The exhibit is designed to reach all people in the local community with positive messages about studying the Earth, and preparing our buildings and ourselves for future damaging earthquakes," says Jim Whitcomb, deputy director of NSF's division of earth sciences.

Visitors to the museum will become seismic sleuths, scientists, emergency planners, and engineers. Visitors are on a mission to learn as much as possible to help their families prepare for an earthquake; taking personal responsibility for safety is the lesson. Exhibit components include interactive displays such as a Northridge apartment complex diorama; a venue to make earthquake preparedness kits; and a kiosk with computer simulations, real-time earthquake data and information, and educational videos. [Cheryl Dybas]

Top of Page

Research Shows Why More Species Are Better for Ecosystems

A common water insect has helped NSF-funded researchers show that the health of an ecosystem depends on the variety of species that inhabit it, a discovery that could revolutionize how scientists look at the effects of species extinction.

University of Maryland biologist Margaret Palmer and doctoral student Bradley Cardinale have shown that when several species of caddisfly larvae live together in a stream, they can capture more food. As a result, the larvae are likely to be more productive than when only a single species inhabits the same area. The study is one of the first in the growing controversy over biodiversity loss to look at aquatic species and the potential importance of conserving different species in an ecosystem.

"Our research supports findings from other studies that show when you decrease the diversity of species in an ecosystem, the ecosystem becomes less productive," said Palmer. "What's really exciting about our work is that we were able to show why this happens. We found that species sometimes help each other capture food. When you lose a species, the others may eat less and become less productive." [Cheryl Dybas]

Top of Page



National Science Foundation
Office of Legislative and Public Affairs
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: 703-292-8070
FIRS: 800-877-8339 | TDD: 703-292-5090

NSF Logo Graphic