The three-day workshop was held in Debreccen in Hungary last month and involved physicists from both eastern and western Europe. Delegates were concerned about a number of ‘serious problems’ that physics faces both with its relationship with the general public, and as a discipline. The workshop pointed out, for example, that the public often cites Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle as a reason for claiming that everything is uncertain.

On a brighter note, the report points out that politicians are starting to realise how science can smooth and help diplomacy, and that the public are buying more popular-science books. ‘Our defence of physics, as well as science in general, must find ways of exploiting these hopeful points, ’ says the report.