Joined: 19 May 14
Here is a letter from Professor Heidi Newberg:
"Dear Milkyway@home volunteer,
Last July I sent out a plea to MilkyWay@home volunteers to help save our project when our National Science Foundation grant was not renewed. I am happy to report that we have so far raised $37,991 towards a goal of $40,480. We are so close!! Many thanks to the wonderful MilkyWay@home volunteers, my family, and the parents of my former graduate students for keeping us afloat thus far. Donations have come in by credit card, check, PayPal, transfers from donor advised funds, and we received over $3000 from BitCoinUtopia (http://www.bitcoinutopia.net/bitcoinutopia/), which is collecting cryptocurrencies to support our research.
If you are able and willing to help but have not yet made a donation, then now is your chance. To raise the additional $2489 needed, we need thirty-six people to donate $15, twenty people to donate $40, nine people to donate $100, and one very generous person to donate $250. I hope that by next week, we will be able to announce on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Milkywayathome) that we have met or exceeded the goal! Gifts made directly to MilkyWay@home are tax deductible in the US and Canada. Volunteers will receive an on-line badge for donations of any size. For every $100 donated before December 1, 2014, we will send you a free T-shirt (S, M, L, XL, XXL, or XXXL), designed by our team members, that says “I support MilkyWay@home.” After December 1, we will send T-shirts if they are available in your size, but they will not be reprinted.
Already, donated funds have supported undergraduate student Jake Weiss, who is doing a semester of employment on MilkyWay@home. It also payed for travel for our collaborator Larry Widrow to travel to Rensselaer and help us implement new algorithms. Five poster presentations on MilkyWay@home research (three students, one former student, and myself) have been accepted for the January 2015 meeting of the American Astronomical Society; travel to that meeting will be paid by your donations. So far, we are right on track with our budgeting.
Some have asked me if this is a one-time request for funding, or whether this will become the primary source of funding for MilkyWay@home. I recently saw a presentation on funding trends given by the head of the US National Science Foundation Astronomy Division, and I can tell you that the funding projections for federal grants that fund projects like MilkyWay@home are not good. I am expecting that while we need federal funding to keep our project vibrant in the long term, we cannot count on it as the only source into the future. I am working on ways to broaden our support base beyond MilkyWay@home volunteers, to include foundation and corporate support as well as tapping into new funding models for reaching philanthropists with an interest in supporting science.
If you are a person who makes year-end donations, I would really appreciate your adding MilkyWay@home to the list of organizations that you support. We have great plans to discover where dark matter is in the Milky Way over the next ten years. That goal requires significant advances in our computer algorithms that run n-body simulations and that requires the efforts of many students to achieve. Any funds received in excess of our goal this year will be used on additional student salaries. Since most of the funds will be expended on student salaries in summer 2015, we will post a report of the funding used and results achieved in September, 2015.
I and the MilkyWay@home team thank you so much for keeping our research alive!
Prof. Heidi Jo Newberg and the MilkyWay@home team
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