From Edge:

By Martin Rees

As an astronomer I'm lucky to work in a subject where there is already public interest, and where it's not too difficult to convey the key ideas and new discoveries in a non-technical and accessible way. It's far harder to make particle physics accessible and interesting. Brian Cox is one of the few scientists who succeed in doing this, and I much admire him for it. It's fortunate that he's been willing to devote so much time and effort to 'outreach'—and especially to seize the opportunity to publicise the LHC launch so effectively. Scientists—not just particle physicists—should be grateful to him for raising the profile of 'blue skies' research so engagingly and effective.


It's a pitifully small amount, and what's begun to bother me is the question, is that optimal in any way? Has it been optimized? Has anyone even stopped to think what would happen if you doubled it or tripled it? And about a year ago that was a controversial thing to say because 3.5 billion pounds or 5 billion pounds—$10 billion—sounded like a lot of money. Now it doesn't sound like a lot of money at all. It's fractions of a percent of the bailout packages. I know in the US that it seems that there's going to be a large input, increase in science spending. I want to know whether it's optimized.

More here.