Stormy Space Weather

January 31, 2008

One of the victims of the STFC funding crisis is ground-based solar-terrestrial physics : STFC decided to pull out of ground-based radar systems. A few years back, many mainstream astronomers would have quietly let it slip, as it seemed rather dull compared to cosmology, solar physics, or planet hunting : good stuff but not top priority. But now its not so clear, as space weather has an important part in the climate change story; and now of course its all part of the “man the barricades” defence campaign. On January 21, the informal club of that community, known as MIST, had a meeting following which they issued an extremely strident set of resolutions. They also issued a press release, which was picked up by the BBC, and by New Scientist. The tone is getting tougher all round. Here is a toughly worded article in New Statesman, brought to my attention by Rob Ivison.

Behind the scenes, very strongly worded emails are flying around. Not sure where this is all headed… Meanwhile the IUS select committee continues. The next evidence session is on Feb 20th, when they will interview Science Minister Ian Pearson and Research Councils Supremo Keith O’Nions. Meanwhile, subsets of the committee are on a fact finding tour. They were at RAL today; are due at ATC on Feb 5th; and they will presumably be visiting Daresbury, but I haven’t heard about this …