One of the worst misconception that most people have about physics is that it is a subject matter that deals with esoteric, far out theories that have nothing to do with their everyday lives. To them, physics is equivalent to "nuclear physics", "elementary particle/high energy physics", or worst still, "string theory".
I have tried to point out several different areas of physics that actually have a direct impact in our everyday world, including producing all those electronic gizmos that we all cannot live without. The latest edition of AIP's Physics News Update up the ante and lists 3 advances in physics that have a good probability of having a direct application to our lives. These areas are certainly a major part of physics, and people need to know that. They may not be sexy and do not get their own series on Public Broadcasting TV, but they are as important as anything else.