A few weeks ago, on the 30th of Sept to be precise, I gave a speech to ‘science leaders’ in CSIRO. Science leaders are early mid career scientists from around the world whom CSIRO have recruited. As the speech explains, Jim Peacock, the Chief Scientist whom I met when on the Innovation Review asked me to speak. I sent this to Don Arthur, who enjoyed it, so I thought I’d post it for those who might like to read it on Troppo.
I must confess to some trepidation as I stand before you.
Ive never thought of myself as an after dinner speaker. But there I was working away I was going to say innocently working away but some people who know me might find that unconvincing.
Anyway, at that point, the nations Chief Scientist rang.
He said that hed come to think of my contributions to the Innovation Review where we both sat as members as so witty that he thought that if I turned up here tonight everyone could have a good laugh.
I note he didnt say witty and wise, but then thats just as well as it halves the level of performance anxiety I might otherwise feel.
Now naturally enough, those on the Innovation Panel regard a gentle request from the Chief Scientist in the same way that members of the US Military regard a gentle request from the Commander in Chief. So I accepted his kind invitation.
Anyway, immediately I got off the phone the saying that came to my fevered and terrified mind was the one attributed to Abraham Lincoln. You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time (I think in these circumstances thats a reference to the Chief Scientist), but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.
On thinking about that I nearly rang back and cancelled, but then I realised, that from what the Chief Scientist had said, all I really needed to do was fool all of the people in this room for fifteen minutes or so.
So here I go. Please dont refrain from having a few more drinks as I speak. A couple of minutes already gone! Continue reading