Committee on Smithsonian Scientific Research

Board on Life Sciences

Division on Earth and Life Studies

Board on Physics and Astronomy

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences



Washington, D.C.

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FUNDING SMITHSONIAN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH Committee on Smithsonian Scientific Research Board on Life Sciences Division on Earth and Life Studies Board on Physics and Astronomy Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C.

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 FIFTH STREET, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Grant No. T0236CC10348 between the National Academies and the Smithsonian Institution. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-08633-7 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, COVER: Clockwise from top left corner. Photos reprinted with permission from the Smithsonian Institution. Mei Xiang, the female giant panda at the National Zoological Park. Mei Xiang, along with the male Panda Tian Tian, are on a 10-year loan, under an agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association. Photo by Jessie Cohen. X-ray image of the Crab Nebula, the remnant of a supernova explosion in 1054 A.D., taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center. Photo credit: NASA/CXC/SAO. Spacesuit preservation by staff at the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education. Photo by Doc Dougherty. View of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Photo by Marcos Guerra. Feather identification expert Roxie Laybourne, amidst a portion of bird collection at the National Museum of Natural History. Photo by Chip Clark. View of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland. Photo by Mark Haddon. Copyright 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self–perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Wm. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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COMMITTEE ON SMITHSONIAN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH CORNELIUS J. PINGS (Chair), Association of American Universities (Emeritus), Pasadena, CA BARBARA L. BEDFORD, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY MARC DAVIS, Department of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley, CA HUGH W. DUCKLOW, School of Marine Science, The College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, VA JONATHAN FINK, Office of Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ ANTHONY C. JANETOS, H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, Washington, DC KENNETH I. KELLERMANN, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville, VA J. PATRICK KOCIOLEK, Diatom Collection, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA DANIEL A. LIVINGSTONE, Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC MICHAEL J. NOVACEK, Office of Senior Vice-President and Provost, and Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY BRUCE A. RIDEOUT, Department of Pathology, Zoological Society of San Diego, San Diego, CA ETHAN SCHREIER, Associated Universities, Inc., Washington, DC PATRICIA WRIGHT, Department of Anthropology, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY Staff Frances E. Sharples, Director, Board on Life Sciences Donald C. Shapero, Director, Board on Physics and Astronomy Evonne Tang, Study Co-director Michael Moloney, Study Co-director Valerie Gutmann, Project Assistant Nelson Quinones, Project Assistant Norman Grossblatt, Senior Editor

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BOARD ON LIFE SCIENCES COREY S. GOODMAN (Chair), University of California, Berkeley, CA R. ALTA CHARO, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Madison, WI JOANNE CHORY, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA DAVID J. GALAS, Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Science, Claremont, CA BARBARA GASTEL, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX JAMES M. GENTILE, Hope College, Holland, MI LINDA E. GREER, Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, DC ED HARLOW, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA ELLIOT M. MEYEROWITZ, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA ROBERT T. PAINE, University of Washington, Seattle, WA GREGORY A. PETSKO, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA STUART L. PIMM, Duke University, Durham, NC JOAN B. ROSE, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, FL GERALD M. RUBIN, Howard Hughes Biomedical Research, Chevy Chase, MD BARBARA A. SCHAAL, Washington University, St. Louis, MO RAYMOND L. WHITE, DNA Sciences, Inc., Fremont, CA Staff Frances E. Sharples, Director

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BOARD ON PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY JOHN P. HUCHRA (Chair), Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA ROBERT C. RICHARDSON (Vice Chair), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY JONATHAN BAGGER, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD GORDON A. BAYM, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL CLAUDE R. CANIZARES, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA WILLIAM EATON, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD WENDY L. FREEDMAN, Carnegie Observatories, Pasadena, CA FRANCES HELLMAN, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA KATHRYN LEVIN, University of Chicago, James Franck Institute, Chicago, IL CHUAN LIU, University of Maryland, College Park, MD LINDA J. MAGID, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN THOMAS M. O’NEIL, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA JULIA M. PHILLIPS, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM BURTON RICHTER, Stanford University, Menlo Park, CA ANNEILA I. SARGENT, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA JOSEPH H. TAYLOR, JR., Princeton University, Princeton, NJ THOMAS N. THEIS, IBM, Yorktown Heights, NY CARL E. WIEMAN, JILA/University of Colorado, Boulder, CO Staff Donald C. Shapero, Director

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Preface The superb system of federal support for US science and technology has produced 5 decades of discovery and innovation that have changed the way we live. This use of public resources is widely agreed to be a great public good. Nevertheless, it is the legitimate responsibility of government managers to try to ensure that public investments in science and technology are used wisely and continue to produce high-quality results. Fulfillment of that responsibility underlies the preparation of this report, which grew out of a concern that scientific research conducted by parts of the Smithsonian Institution might not be the best obtainable because a portion of the funding for this research is directly appropriated by the federal government without peer-reviewed competition. The Smithsonian Institution is one of the nation’s most venerable organizations. Founded in the mid-19th century with a substantial bequest to the US government from the English scientist James Smithson, almost 150 years later it still carries out the mission Smithson assigned it—“the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” But even venerable institutions should be well managed and the quality of their work ensured. At the request of the Office of Management and Budget, therefore, the Smithsonian asked the National Academy of Sciences, in partnership with the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), to evaluate whether the federal research funding now given by direct appropriation to the Smithsonian’s scientific programs could be better invested by transferring these funds to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to further support its competitively awarded research grants programs. In response, the National Research Council of the National Academies

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established the Committee on Smithsonian Scientific Research. The persons appointed to serve on the Committee have a wealth of experience in the scientific fields represented in the Smithsonian’s own scientific portfolio and have substantial knowledge of the Smithsonian science units themselves and their research output. Expertise represented on the Committee includes astronomy and astrophysics, ecology, tropical and marine biology, biodiversity conservation, veterinary medicine, anthropology, paleontology, biogeochemistry, volcanology, systematics, and the collection and preservation of museum specimens. To carry out its task, the full Committee met twice, at the beginning and end of the project. In between, its members, divided into three panels, met frequently by teleconference to draft this report and provide the basis of its recommendations. The report represents the consensus of the Committee’s views. Throughout its preparation, we remained in close touch with our NAPA counterparts to ensure that our two reports were well coordinated. It should be noted that the terms of the possible transfer of funds from the Smithsonian to the NSF were not specified to the Committee. The Committee, therefore, was forced to design reasonable scenarios for how such a transfer might be made. The Committee elected to evaluate an array of cases, including those in which all funding, including salary support for Smithsonian scientists, would be transferred and cases in which NSF would be directed to use the transferred funds to support research in the same disciplinary fields as before or even to maintain the programs and operations of the Smithsonian facilities more or less intact. The impacts of a funding transfer would vary considerably according to the terms established and in some cases could be draconian for the well-being of the Smithsonian scientific staff and programs. I wish to thank all the members of the Committee for their valuable contributions and for their insights into the scientific and societal issues surrounding this project. I also wish to acknowledge the National Research Council staff (Evonne Tang, Michael Moloney, Fran Sharples, and Don Shapero) for their thorough and thoughtful assistance with all aspects of the preparation of this report. Cornelius J. Pings, Chair Committee on Smithsonian Scientific Research

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Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by persons chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report. John D. Aber, University of New Hampshire Charlie Costain, Canadian Institute of Conservation W. Gary Ernst, Stanford University Christopher B. Field, Carnegie Institution of Washington Wendy L. Freedman, Observatories of the Carnegie Institution William B. Karesh, Wildlife Conservation Society Patrick V. Kirch, University of California, Berkeley Neal F. Lane, Rice University Stuart Pimm, Duke University Burton Richter, Stanford University Anneila I. Sargent, California Institute of Technology Andrew R. Solow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Ivan Valiela, Boston University Terry L. Yates, University of New Mexico

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Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Michael T. Clegg, University of California, Riverside, and Louis J. Lanzerotti, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND   6     Origins of the Smithsonian Institution,   6     Development of the Scientific Research Centers,   10     Budget Overview and Motivations for this Study,   14     Scope and Execution of This Study,   18 2   DESCRIPTION OF THE SMITHSONIAN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH CENTERS   21     Interpretation of Terms in the Charge,   21     National Museum of Natural History,   22     Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory,   29     National Zoological Park,   34     Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute,   38     Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education,   42     Smithsonian Environmental Research Center,   46 3   FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS   51     Findings and Conclusions,   52     Recommendations,   69     REFERENCES   71

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    APPENDIXES     A   Committee on Smithsonian Scientific Research: Biographical Sketches   73 B   National Academy of Public Administration: Charge to the Panel on Smithsonian Research and Panel Membership   79 C   Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Facilities   81 D   Examples of Long-Term Projects and Data Sets at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute   83 E   Examples of Long-Term Projects and Records at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center   85 F   List of Acronyms   87