Loss of Funding Creating Impact on Science Jobs, Research

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greenbanktelescopeEven those who don’t have science careers are painfully aware that the recent government shutdown had a huge impact on research and those who have science jobs in a number of different fields. Just last month, the Green Bank telescope, the largest radio telescope in the world, stopped moving. As a result, the research being performed by astronomers from around the globe came to a halt.

According to an article in Science News, Astronomers David Stark and Sheila Kannappan from the University of North Carolina had previously been allotted 80 hours of observation time using the Green Bank telescope to observe the flow of gases between galaxies and fuel star formation. Apparently, obtaining time on the telescope is hard-won. Now, the time the astronomers had has potentially been lost for good. At best, a lot of time has been wasted while they wait to see if they will regain their place in line.

This is by no means the first time that government funding has been an issue that impacted important research, nor is this the only area of research that continues to be affected by the government shutdown. Those with research assistant jobs in many areas of science lost funding for their research projects, and also the salary they would have received for the work they performed. In the case of the Green Bank telescope, there are many organizations and programs associated with its use with approximately 50,000 people visiting the location each year. Astronomers Kannappan and Stark are just one example of how the impact of one interruption to funding has had an ongoing impact.

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