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Dear Guardian editor: that’s the wrong Manc!


By Hamish Johnston

It used to be called the Manchester Guardian, so you would think the newspaper would be keen to feature two University of Manchester physicists who have just won the Nobel prize for discovering graphene.

This morning there is a Manchester physicist on the top slot of the Guardian‘s science webpage, but it’s not laureates Andre Geim or Konstantin Novoselov.

And the Nobel news has been relegated to the third slot.

I suppose I should be heartened by the fact that the Nobel story has far more comments than the piece on particle physics – and I know that Brian Cox does a great job at communicating science to the public.

Maybe I’m asking too much for the rest of the UK to get excited about this Nobel prize. And perhaps here at we give too much coverage to graphene – 82 articles and counting.

Of course it’s not the Guardian‘s job to promote UK science, but I can’t help thinking that this editorial decision is a reflection of how science is seen in the UK (and elsewhere).

We tend to be interested in a few flashy projects like the LHC and indifferent to scientists like Geim or Novoselov, who toil away in tiny labs making big discoveries with the potential of changing all our lives.

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  1. John Duffield

    And it’s promoting the “the mystery of mass” myth too. Einstein solved that mystery in 1905. CERN scientist Gian Francesco Giudice tells it straight in A Zeptospace Odyssey, wherein the Higgs mechanism is responsible for only 1% of proton mass.
    Ah, I see they’ve made amends now:
    Mind you, there was zip about it in the wife’s Mail this morning. Not a sausage.

  2. jjeherrera

    “We tend to be interested in a few flashy projects like the LHC and indifferent to scientists like Geim or Novoselov, who toil away in tiny labs making big discoveries with the potential of changing all our lives.”
    I couldn’t agree more. As much as high energy physics is, and as much as it is interesting to follow their advancementes (I’m sure we’ll be hearing about a lot of interesting new results from LHC in the next few months), people should be aware that physics is far more than just high energy physics, and that discovery can come from unexpected fields of research.
    I appreciate the way in which Phys. World has kept us abreast of the new results on graphene research, and this Nobel prize confirms your good nose on where the action is.

  3. Chaz

    Of course the Mail wouldn’t mention it. Every new British laureate is another blow to the Tories’ precious cuts.

  4. John Duffield

    Who knows? Somebody should ask Hanlon if he’s had trouble getting his pieces into the printed version, stuff like this:


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