The future leader of Britain's physicists, Ian Halliday, incoming chief executive of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, is already finding life mildly puzzling. He told the Royal Astronomical Society last week that the post has almost no written job description beyond "running PPARC". But as soon as he signed up, letters began arriving threatening him with everything from the Public Accounts Committee to prison if he did anything wrong.
However, he has had some fun. A letter inviting him to a meeting at the Office of Science and Technology asked him to turn up in the afternoon. It should have said the morning, which is how he comes to know all about the Medical Research Council's evidence to the comprehensive spending review.