Los Angeles Times

For scientists, the ripple effects of the government shutdown are still spreading

LOS ANGELES - Matt Helgeson knew it was time to pull the plug.

For weeks, the University of California, Santa Barbara professor of chemical engineering had held out hope that politicians in Washington would find a way to end the government shutdown. If they did, his graduate students could still make their long-planned trip to Maryland to conduct experiments at the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Center for Neutron Research in mid-January.

A slot at the NCNR is a precious commodity, and Helgeson's students had spent six months meticulously preparing for theirs. But every day the shutdown limped on, their prospects dimmed.

The final blow came when President Donald Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office and doubled down on his demand for a border wall - which Democrats refused to fund.

Helgeson called the two students into his office the next day.

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