Although I live and work in the US, I was born and educated up to graduate school in the UK, and for reasons both intellectual and personal have been becoming increasingly appalled by the treatment of science there. Put simply, after years of neglect and pressure under the previous Labour government, science funding is now facing evisceration under the new ruling Conservative/Lib-Dem coalition. I have a lengthy post in the works about my own feelings about the state of the British higher education system, and the treatment of science more specifically. However, here I'd like to make sure that any interested readers are aware of a concerted effort to push back against the planned short-sighted cuts, under the banner of the Science is Vital campaign. From their website, Science is Vital is
... a group of concerned scientists, engineers and supporters of science who are campaigning to prevent destructive levels of cuts to science funding in the UK.
and the concrete steps that one can take to help the cause (mostly useful if you live in Britain) are
1. Sign the Campaign for Science & Engineering petition. 2. Join the Science is Vital demo in central London, Saturday 9th October at 2 PM. 3. Write to your MP about the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths. 4. Come to the Houses of Parliament for the Science is Vital lobby of MPs on 12th October, 3.30 to 4.30 PM. 5. Spread the word using the posters.
Fellow cosmological bloggers Andrew Jaffe (an American who lives and works in the UK, as a Professor at Imperial College, and blogs at Leaves on the Line) and Peter Coles (a Professor at Cardiff University who blogs at In the Dark) have been writing eloquently and persuasively about the threat to British science for quite some time now. Both have recent posts (Jaffe, Coles) which describe the Science is Vital effort and the motivations behind it. If you care about science, and maintaining Britain's historical strength in this area, I urge you to sign the Science is Vital petition, and do whatever you can to fight the planned cuts. It can take a long time to become one of the world's leading nations in such an important endeavor, but considerably less time to throw away that status. Please don't let that happen to British science.