This is the second part in a two-part essay on why I stay in academia. As I did with yesterday’s post, I wanted to start with an infographic, but I couldn’t find one communicating what I wanted to say. Astronomy is a rich field, doing and discovering amazing things, but we are a field where budgets are modest, and the overall dollars that are available is going down or staying flat (depending on your sub-field). I wanted to find an infographic that somehow expressed that.
When I talk about why I stay, I have to address the question of “Why do I stay given the current funding crisis?”
I thought about making an infographic, but it hurt too much. Maybe another day?
Here’s what I know: NASA and NSF aren’t getting a lot of astronomy support from congress. There are several big observatories on the way or just getting started – James Webb Space Telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, ALMA, Curiosity. … Each of these projects comes with a large price tag. Budgets from congress are pretty much flat, and when you consider the combined costs of building and maintaining the new facilities while also maintaining the current suite ...