This is a new report (released today) by the National Research Council, an arm of the US National Academies of Sciences. The report highlights the importance of condensed matter physics and material sciences, and why the US leadership position in this field is in jeopardy (i.e. it is heading in the same direction as high energy physics).
Considering that there are a lot of OBVIOUS and direct impact out of this field of study on our everyday lives, one would think that it would be a no-brainer to illustrate its importance. But one would be surprised to realize that for many people who are not familiar with physics, the field is still considered to be rather "esoteric". Most people think physics only as particle physics, nuclear physics, or String theory, and do not even consider or know of anything practical that comes out of it. Such a misconception pervades through a large portion of society and certainly through politicians that make funding decisions.