A number of bloggers including Scott, Suresh, Sariel and physicist David Bacon have weighed in on the big panel discussion on how to generate interest in theoretical computer science. There was a big push for our community to publish in Science and Nature. I have seen more than a couple rather mediocre CS papers in Science. We need more than to just send our papers to these journals, we need members of our community on the editorial board.
The most interesting comments came from science writer Sara Robinson.
There is a perception among science editors that TCS is not what people want to read about: they want stories about health, things that cost a lot of taxpayer dollars, etc.The New York Times, which Sara Robinson has written for in the past, used to give good coverage to research in theoretical computer science. But their Tuesday section Science Times has moved over the last couple of years from a general covering of science to a focus on medicine, environment and astronomy. Not just computer science but physics and chemistry get far less coverage than they once did.
What scares me most is what I see from incoming undergraduates. Far more high school students use computers now than say ten years ago but far fewer of them know how to program. Computer science is a victim of its own success, by making computers powerful, easy to use and well-connected, we have turned computers into a commodity like cars with the mystique of computation and complexity lost on the users.