UK astronomy under threat

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Rosanella
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Post by Rosanella »

DaPPa wrote:I dont see why not, go for it =]
I'll let all home-educated families I know about it, as quite a few of them have young teenagers studying GCSE Astronomy.

Rosanella
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Post by Hampshire Astronomer »

HI

I let my local politician know about this and they were not best pleased I can tell you.

They are going to lodge their formal objection to this but she has said that the main problem is changing members of the publics views.

If this can be done, looking at the petition we are very nearly there :-), then we are home and dry...or are we??

Dave
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Post by Hampshire Astronomer »

Forgot to ask.....

Is there a letter that has been drafted so people can print it out and send it to their local mp's?

I think a letter with all the correct data etc etc contained within it that could be printed out and sent to MP's would be of great benefit

Dave
David Scanlan

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Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Dave
I have to say that although I have signed the petition, and I think that arguably any petition is better than doing nothing at all.I do have some reservations about the merits of petitons and there affectiveness. I think the same applies to everyone (or a lot of people) sending the same standard letter with regards to objecting to something. All that's is likely to encourage is a load of standard "official" responses being sent out in reply.
I personally think a good mix of individual letters of objections is a far better way. That necessitates officialdom needing to make more individual responses. I am sure it also makes officialdom think about the issues more seriously.
Of course in making their individual objections the objectors might make some mistakes - but bare in mind officialdom rarely get everythig right, they just bambuzzle their way along.
Best of luck from Cliff
PS By the way writing individual letters to local MPs will probably bring something to their attention that they know nothing about and thought they could get away with never bothering to know and think they could just lay the responsibility entirely on someone else.
Maddie
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Post by Maddie »

I've added my name and passing on the link to family members to sign too.

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davep
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Post by davep »

Hampshire Astronomer wrote:Is there a letter that has been drafted so people can print it out and send it to their local mp's?
See a couple of pages back regarding this issue.
S_Hawkins
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Re: UK astronomy under threat

Post by S_Hawkins »

Rosanella wrote:Can teenagers under the age of 18 sign the Petition?
I did! (age 15)
Sam Hawkins
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Post by Hampshire Astronomer »

Does this mean its all been blown out of proportion?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7200456.stm

Dave
David Scanlan

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goodtime
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Post by goodtime »

Reading the entire article, it in no way says that the magnitude of the cuts is being blown out of proportion, that was what the chief executive, Keith Mason, of the council doing the cuts alluded to. What do you expect him to say?

This is the quote attributed to him:
"The 'doom and gloom' being spread about the state of UK physics and the funding of research is unhelpful and paints an inaccurate picture."

The end of the article better sums up the situation. If it requires "doom and gloom" to salvage the situation then so be it.
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Post by KendalAstronomer »

Yep, reading the responses to this article in the astronomy and atmospheric physics communities, they have been rather curt... I believe Keith Mason is giving a politician's answer. Sometime in the next few days there'll be a press release calling for his head (amongst others) following a meeting by the Magnetospheric-Ionospheric-Solar-Terrestrial physics community, MIST. This wasn't in reaction to the article, it was a meeting including STFC representatives scheduled to discuss the general situtation created by the cuts.

The cuts will still mean hundreds of redundancies, the UK prematurely pulling out of, and therefore bankrupting, european STP facilities and all upper atmospheric ground-based facilities in the UK being shut down. It will also mean temporary loss of the Gemini telescopes, so a cut-price deal can be negotiated for re-entry to Gemini North only as well as other such slashes on other UK subscribed telescopes. It has made the UK look like an unreliable partner in international collaborations and will mean a reduction of 10% in the funds available for new astronomers and physicists hired as such after obtaining their doctorates (Post-doctoral researchers). Outreach will also be hammered.

Not many ways to put a good spin on that, or say it's a "good deal" for physicists and astronomers.
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Post by Hampshire Astronomer »

Well this week I posted a news item about a scientist that says the funding problem is not all that serious and then I find this on the news this morning

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7207330.stm

Round and round we go :-(

In my personal opinion why dont they sell 3 or 4 premiership football players dont give the money to the club and instead use the money made to cover the funding.......that way theres something being put back into the country and not just some people getting paid stupid amounts of money to kick a ball around

Dave
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KendalAstronomer
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Post by KendalAstronomer »

It got worse earlier on today. STFC tried to negotiate its way out of Gemini North and South so it could negotiate re-entry into Gemini North only. Unfortunately, it appears they managed stage one, but failed in stage two, meaning the UK is now permamently out of both the Gemini telescopes.

STFC have tried to spin it by saying it'll give them more money to buy into something else later (note they said nothing about using the money to plug a tiny amount of the 80 million cuts they need and 40 million they want for 'breathing space').

STFC official announcement here
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Post by Hampshire Astronomer »

It just goes to show that they do not understand the impact the cuts will have on creating scientists of the future does it?

It wont be long before the UK is left very far behind the rest of the world :-(

Dave
David Scanlan

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KendalAstronomer
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Post by KendalAstronomer »

It's creating havoc with the scientists of the present too. One guy in the group spent nine days working on a Gemini observing proposal (you have to make a scientific case for why your observations are important and then show why it must be Gemini you use to observe, it then goes off to be peer reviewed by a committee who rank it alongside other proposals for the same time and decide who gets the night) only to find that since the UK is out immediately, all his work on that project has been cancelled. The pull out date is early next month, whereas proposals are done months, sometimes more than a year in advance. Anything arranged for after the pullout date is cancelled and the time given to projects from other countries that had previously been considered lower priority.
T Russell
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Post by T Russell »

Looks like our efforts didn't amount to a great deal. Latest press release doesn't sound good.

Tom
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