(j3.2006) Won't be in Toronto

Keith Bierman khbkhb
Mon May 7 16:01:24 EDT 2012

Not being part of JPL or NASA (anymore, nor for a long time)....

JPL is actually owned by Caltech, but nearly 100% financed by NASA. If NASA
doesn't want to pay for something, it is incredibly rare that anyone with
the authority to do so is going to go against NASA (if, Van was awarded the
Nobel Prize, Caltech might spring for that; but mathematics is excluded
from Nobel awards).

The consequences of going against NASA's will (even in trivial ways) can be
profound, so JPL staff are trained early to not even think about it (other
than finding other funding sources, which they sometimes have been
allowed/encouraged to do). But it seems highly unlikely that Van could get
this sort of funding outside of the primary channels (once upon a time, the
hypercube group might have; but that was over in the Navigation Division
not Oceanography).

Other than our all lamenting Van's fate (and perhaps the funding battles
that NASA is losing at major government levels, and JPL's own battles)
there's not much left for any of us to do but to hoist a drink in Van's

Keith Bierman
khbkhb at gmail.com
kbiermank AIM
303 997 2749

On Mon, May 7, 2012 at 1:54 PM, Van Snyder <Van.Snyder at jpl.nasa.gov> wrote:

> On Mon, 2012-05-07 at 13:43 -0400, Daniel C Chen wrote:
> > I am really sorry that you won't be coming to Toronto this June. Is
> > there any chance that it may change at the last minute? I am just
> > hoping ...
> Very unlikely.
> As an earlier supervisor told me when I joined an oceanography group,
> "If you're a civilian in the Navy, you'll never be an admiral."
> Mathematicians and software engineers are always second-class citizens
> if they're not in organizations devoted to mathematics and computer
> science.  But then, the entire organization is a second-class citizen.
> Van
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