Although astronomers have taken the early public hit with the announced intention to withdraw from Gemini, UK particle physicists have not been slow to notice that STFC’s budget problems could hit them too. They recently had a “town meeting” to discuss the issues, and my PP chums forwarded me an email about this labelled “STFC cuts (PANIC !)”. Since then, I guess the panic has deepened, as the previously public web page with copies of the talks given and notes taken has now become password protected. They are obviously afraid that this is all a sign that pure science is going down in status, like the bad old Thatcher days, and are gearing up to feed Joe Public and Gerry Minister with information about how useful and important fundamental physics (and astrophysics) is. My guess is that this is off beam. There is a slow pressure to prove yourself useful, but I really don’t detect a sudden change, or an intention to run down big science. Its just that STFC got a raw deal and Diamond costs more than expected.
Particle Physicists could be a bit fed up for another reason. It looks like the next big machine – the International Linear Collider – may be a bit slower in coming than hoped, following a US DOE report ranking it rather lower than hope in the queue for US funding. Its bound to happen, but will take a looooooooong time. I learned this when I discovered a new Physics blog, called “Corycia“. Must be one of the most obscure classical references in the blargosfear, but a nice wee blog. Today Owen is calling is teddy bear Jesus.