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Optical Design & Engineering

SPIE joins science and technology leaders in calling attention to the effects of US Government shutdown

An open letter to US Congress highlights the importance of science to the US economy and describes the harm caused by the recent shutdown.

13 February 2019, SPIE Newsroom. DOI:

US Capitol Building

SPIE CEO Kent Rochford joined other science and technology leaders, including many Nobel Laureates, in commenting on the harm to American science from the US Government partial shutdown.

The open letter, sent to the US Congress and President Trump, highlights the importance of science to the US economy and society at large. The authors describe how the shutdown harms the United States' position as a leader in science and technology.

"The disruptions caused by the shutdown have consequences that will extend well beyond the shutdown, with the potential to affect many aspects of our society, including our economy, security, health, and international competitiveness."

They signers also called out the historical investments the US Government has made in basic science and the resulting technologies used every day. The letter highlights the effects these investments have had in strengthening the US economy: "Our past global scientific dominance fueled the technological innovations that have made our economy the strongest in the world."

In closing, they call for continued strong investment in science and research and a plea to avoid further shutdowns, pointing to "the detrimental consequences of even short-term suspensions of federal funding on the nation's scientific enterprise." The letter ends with the pointed statement, "Continued strong support for science benefits us all."

Read the full letter.