The FY 2006 budget requests to Congress are out today. In the parts relevant to funding for mathematics and physics, the information about the NSF request is here, and information about the DOE request is here.
One should really be a lot more expert on the details of government science funding than I am to be sure what these numbers mean, but here’s my interpretation:
NSF: Funding request for mathematics is precisely flat at about $200 million. The only real change from last year is that $3 million is being moved from “Enhancing the Mathematical Sciences Workforce” (which funded things like the VIGRE grant our department used to have) to fund things like summer schools, workshops, conferences, etc. One strange thing is that mathematics is listed as one of four NSF priority areas, but still gets a cut in real dollars. Some of the other “priority areas” have very large cuts. I guess this means the NSF is changing its priorities.
The NSF physics request is up 2.3% to about $230 million. $13.5 million of this is for operations of the LHC detectors (CMS and ATLAS), $14.7 million for CESR and $32 million for LIGO. The part of the budget that includes research grants in high energy physics increased by $6.4 million to $152.4 million and theoretical physics is listed as a priority. Maybe string theorists will get more money. “POU”, or Physics of the Universe, is listed as the highest priority, with emphasis on the question of “What about that dark matter and dark energy?”.
DOE: The high energy physics budget request contains a large cut, going from $735.4 million in FY 2005 to $713.9 million in FY 2006. Highest priorities are listed as the Tevatron and NuMI at Fermilab and the B-factory as SLAC, but overall experimental HEP funding is down. Theoretical physics funding gets a small increase, from $49.0 to $49.1 million, so at least the string theorists will be all right, even if the experiments aren’t.
More details on all of this should be available at the HEPAP meeting next week.
Of course this is just the request to Congress. Something very different may emerge later this year from the Congressional committees.
Update: A document with just the HEP part of the DOE budget is here.