Apologies in advance for this somewhat rambling post... Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man I mean, I agree with it - I think the surface of Mars is much less interesting than a groundbreaking discovery in particle physics, but I can easily see why other people are more interested in the surface of Mars than in particle physics. And I don't think there is any "objective" response here - I don't think that particle physics is objectively more interesting than the surface of Mars. I can't force people to become interested in particle physics; I can't force people to think that particle physics is fascinating and more worthy of our understanding than the surface of another planet. How do you even deem what is "worthy" and what isn't? You talk about knowing what reality is made of as being important, but about 50 years ago, this stuff got so distanced from everyday notions of "reality" that it stopped seeming at all "real" to most people. Atomic-level particles can at least manifest themselves in our everyday world as chemical reactions or describing how we breathe oxygen and exhale CO2 etc etc. But beneath that atomic level, it all becomes so abstract that most people, myself included, find it less and less "worthy" of understanding. It leaves my everyday realm of "reality" and starts becoming ephemeral and "cute". Mars, on the otherhand, is quite clearly within my everyday notion of reality (it's a freaking planet!), and within my realm of understanding. I understand, when I look at a photograph of Mars, that I'm seeing the surface of another planet. And that is fascinating to me, and to other people too. Mars is within my "reality", so understanding more about Mars increases my understanding of what "reality" is made of for me. But perhaps you disagree with my initial assumption, that we can't "force" people to find particle physics fascinating. Perhaps we can convince people to see particle physics the way you see it. The way "celebrity" physicists like Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Brian Cox see it. Perhaps we can get those scientists to go on TV and speak so passionately and so compellingly about particle physics that the general public becomes as enamoured with it as they are. Well, I'm sure you can - but there are people, purists, who will see this as "cute", and risks dumbing down physics to appeal to the lowest common denominator. In any case, isn't this merely accepting the notion that only popular physics will be well funded, but trying to redefine, or rebrand, particle physics as popular or "sexy"? It seems to me that either way, "purists" are at the wrong end of this argument.