Martin Rees

It's not surprising that the scientific and technological community is overwhelmingly positive on this issue. Some of Europe's greatest technical successes - in particle physics and in aerospace, for instance - have required multinational collaboration. Such achievements show that Europe can fully match the US if its expertise is coordinated optimally. Bodies like CERN and the European Space Agency, for instance, are underpinned by international treaties: they aren't directly linked to the EU. However the EU has been an important 'facilitator' of collaboration across the whole range of 'wissenschaft'.
That's why Kepler 452 b has hit the headlines this week. It is the most Earthlike in these respects of the thousands of planets Kepler has identified. Its discovery strengthens the claim that there are literally billions of earth-like planets in our Milky Way galaxy with the size and temperature of our Earth.
Scientists habitually moan that the public doesn't understand them. But they complain too much: public ignorance isn't peculiar to science. It's sad if some citizens can't tell a proton from a protein.
On the western outskirts of the quaint Surrey town of Guildford, bordered by fields, lies a green pond marking the entrance