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Cornell statement concerning recommendations of National Science Foundation Senior Review

Press Release From: Cornell University
Posted: Monday, November 6, 2006

ITHACA, N.Y. - In response to the Senior Review report presented to the National Science Foundation today, Joseph Burns, Cornell vice provost for physical sciences and engineering, issued the following statement:

"The Senior Review report released today recommends significant budget reductions at all NSF-owned observatories, including Arecibo Observatory, which Cornell University manages. Cornell supports the NSF's overall plan to find funds to carry out new initiatives, but we are disappointed with some of the Senior Review's specific recommendations into the next decade. We remain dedicated to the core scientific programs of the Arecibo Observatory and, accordingly, we are pleased that the review recognizes the facility's significant contributions today and its potential for important discoveries well into the next decade. Our staff will be working with our astronomy community to identify cost savings as recommended by the Senior Review. And by refocusing our facility's priorities over the next several months, in consultation with our visiting and users committees, we are confident that Arecibo's remarkable research and educational programs will be kept strong into 2011 and beyond. During these next few years we will be collaborating with our stakeholders - astronomers, planetary scientists, atmospheric physicists and educators - to assure that Arecibo Observatory remains a leader in astronomical research and scientific outreach."

Located in northwestern Puerto Rico, the Arecibo Observatory hosts the 305-meter diameter antenna, the world's largest radio-radar telescope, and the Angel Ramos Foundation Visitor and Educational Facility. Each year well over 100,000 visitors go to see the facility, and more than 250 scientists from 150 universities and colleges use the Arecibo Observatory to sense the distant reaches of the Universe, to scrutinize threatening asteroids as they hurtle past Earth, and to probe the Earth's ionospheric properties. See http://www.naic.edu.

For more information, contact the Cornell Press Relations Office at (607) 255-6074 or pressoffice@cornell.edu.

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