Yesterday there was a rally in London by scientists who want to convince the government not to cut back on science. I would love to have gone to show my support and bring back some pictures but I had family duties to perform.
I’m afraid the government here is set to make savage cuts to the UK science budget. They don’t understand at all that our economy depends on science, perhaps more than any other country. Britain has always built its wealth on manufacturing industries based on technological innovation, but in time we lose the old industries and can only continue to prosper if we keep creating new ones. That requires scientific research and people educated in science. The only other sector that has kept our economy going for the last few decades is finance, but now we know it is dangerous to rely on the banks.
When Sarkozy spoke at ICHEP we knew that he was serious about supporting science. Other world leaders of countries that rely on science are doing the same. They know that cutting science is a false economy at times like this. In britain they are not just cutting back the budget. They are also making it more difficult for people from outside the EU to come here to so science. They have made an exception to the rules to allow footballers to come here from all around the world, but scientists like Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov who won the Nobel prize for work done in the UK will no longer be welcome here. Young scientists are very mobile. They will go elsewhere. Science cannot just be stopped and started again for short-term savings. Once people leave it is hard to get them back.