Andy Thomas article…must readPosted: October 17, 2007
It took me a while to get around to reading this article, originally in the Bulletin, and it is excellent. Here’s the last two paragraphs:
“That is why federal education policies are so important to the country’s future. That is why it was never smart to suggest that not everyone need have the chance for tertiary education, a point that has actually been in debate in Australia. That is why it has not been smart to allow the tertiary education system to become eroded, as it has over the past 30 years. That is why it is not smart to fail to invest in research and development areas just because they do not have an immediate or short-term payback. Just think how much better off the country would be today if long-term water management and desalinisation investments had been made 20 years ago. Or think how much stronger national security would be if the country had made strategic investments to develop a viable space program of remote sensing. These and many other programs are ultimately crucial for the country’s long-term economic and strategic well-being. It is not smart or healthy for the nation to ignore them.
Because being smart is about nation-building, it is important to acknowledge and recognise the smart people within the community. It allows them to be rewarded and thanked. They do not have press agents like so many of the celebrities, sports figures or media glitterati who embellish the community. In many instances, the Smart 100 are people the paparazzi would never want to track down. Yet, they are important because their contributions do more than just embellish the community, they help build the nation. The diversity of skills and capabilities captured in the Smart 100 speak well for the country’s intellectual resources. These people will have a long-standing legacy and their acknowledgement here shows where the intellectual strength of the nation lies and points to the possibility of a very positive future. But it is up to all of us to also be smart to ensure that this future does indeed come to pass.”
It was, if I recall correctly, recently mentioned on the ABC’s science show that William Brag, another local lad, won his Nobel prize when younger than Britney Spears is now. Until we manage to get science to be noticed and appreciated and ensure our primary school children share the interest the following hit rates from Google will reflect how well our society respects the people who do great things in the world.
William Bragg: 414,000 hits (discoveries save millions of lives)
Britney Spears:16,800,000 hits (????)