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Budget cuts threaten world’s strongest magnet

The world’s most powerful magnet for studying the atomic structure of solids, at the National Ultrahigh-Field NMR Facility for Solids in Ottawa, may have to shut down on 15 December due to a lack of federal funding.

The 2012 budget placed a moratorium on funding to support scientific infrastructure through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the facility has now run out of options for continued operation.

“With no feasible options to apply for funding for proper operations and maintenance on the horizon, the steering committee reluctantly concedes that the continued operations of the facility are not currently sustainable,” a note posted on 21 November on the facility’s website said. The facility would require $160,000 for operations, plus $100,000 for the lease at the National Research Council Canada.

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