Many researchers are suffering from the rising costs of liquid helium and its unreliable availability. To help address these issues, the American Physical Society, in partnership with the Materials Research Society and the American Chemical Society, issued a report in October that identifies federal steps necessary to save entire fields of research that are in peril with rising helium prices.
The societies also launched a website to help researchers identify and transition to new technologies that can dramatically reduce their helium usage. Sophia Hayes, professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, served as a member of the report committee and helped define the website.
“When you confront large helium price increases, it’s hard to adjust on a fixed research budget,” she explained in an accompanying press release. “You have to cover your bills, so you take the money out of your summer salary, and you cut back on the number of graduate students you can hire.”