Chief Scientist Alan Finkel @ NPC

2 March 2016

As Australia’s Chief Scientist appointed in late January to replace Professor Ian Chubb, Alan Finkel will be a breath of fresh air bringing sensible thinking, advice to the PM and commentary in an Australia that needs someone who believes the science of climate change, the opportunities for electric cars and nuclear power as well as the need for innovation and enterprise.

But his address to the National Press Club started with a charming story of his visit to see the ‘Vasa’ in Stockholm and while I beat him by a few decades, revisiting the story was fun and demonstrated how in 1626 when it was built, the blokes in the shipyard made some fundamental errors and this magnificent ‘little’ ship was top-heavy and sank shortly into her maiden voyage. Recovered and restored in a long slow process the Vasa is among Stockholm’s favourite tourist attractions and an example of how science could have kept her afloat. Could science fix the Collins Class submarines, as they’re based on a Swedish Submarine and have been continually beset by technical problems.

We shall wait and see just where we’re headed in a world that’s changing faster than we can learn how to disseminate the information overload.