FIGURE 2.1 Growth in the number of U.S. astronomers as represented by membership in the American Astronomical Society. For comparison, growth in the U.S. population (scaled by 1/100,000) is plotted for the same period. SOURCE: Data are from the AAS (Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 1984-1999) and the Population Estimates Program, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau.



At the time of the 1991 Decadal Report, the status of funding was reasonably clear: NSF provided the major share of funding for ground-based astronomy; NASA provided most of the funding for space astronomy; a significant component was provided by state and private funding (estimated at $190 million per year); and some support for special projects came from the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and Smithsonian Institution. In 1989, in the Astrophysical Journal (ApJ), 34 percent of the articles acknowledged NSF funding, 39 percent acknowledged NASA funding, and 10 percent acknowledged other forms of federal funding. Has the balance of federal funding changed significantly? The committee found that in the 1995 ApJ, 42 percent of the papers published acknowledged NASA support, but only 24 percent acknowledged NSF.

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