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Chair of U.S. House Science Committee Visits Campus

Sensenbrenner wearing goggles

U.S. Representative F. James Sensenbrenner wears special glass in order to view a 3-D virtual reality demonstration in the Model Advanced Facility. (large image)

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., named chair in January of the U.S. House Science Committee, visited UW-Madison and the College of Engineering campus on Monday, May 12, for an in-depth look at science and technology innovations.

Sensenbrenner assisting demonstration

Sensenbrenner holds a magnet to a magnetic liquid during a demonstration in ERB. (large image)

Sensenbrenner toured the PEGASUS project, a tokamak under construction by Professor Raymond J. Fonck's team in the Engineering Research Building, and the HSX project under development by Professor J. Leon Shohet and his team. The representative said he was impressed with a demonstration of new virtual reality technology in room 187 of Computer-Aided Engineering.

UW-Madison received roughly $300 million in federal research support this year, and a large percentage comes from the agencies Sensenbrenner's committee oversees.

Rhonda Norsetter, assistant to the chancellor for federal relations, said Sensenbrenner's agenda for basic science research has been enthusiastically received by the higher education community. He has built strong bipartisan support for the recognition that new knowledge is essential to the nation's growth, she said.

Sensenbrenner at news conference

Sensenbrenner and Chancellor David Ward answer questions at a press conference. (large image)

Legislation recently adopted by the committee calls for a 2.7 percent increase in science and technology budgets [for the] next fiscal year. The committee oversees nearly a third of the total federal investment in research and development, including the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Department of Energy and Sea Grant.

Sensenbrenner, R-Brookfield, met with reporters at 3:45 p.m. in room 106 of the Engineering Research Building. He discussed new developments in the fiscal 1998 science budget, the long-term outlook for federal research funding, and answered media questions. Sensenbrenner is the first Wisconsin GOP chairman of a full House committee in 66 years. He has served since 1981 on the House