Australia’s Chief Scientist addressed the National Press Club and spoke directly to all of us.

Yesterday Dr Cathy Foley gave her inaugural National Press Club Address.  It was a fantastic speech, highlighting her own individual struggles on the road to and through academia, and raised awareness of the importance of fundamental research in our day-to-day lives. You can read the full transcript here. Or watch it on ABC iView here. Trust us – it’s worth catching up. It was an eloquent, powerful, entertaining speech that resonated with all of us. Here are just some of her points that spoke directly to us.

 

“Today, I want to outline four critical foundational issues that I intend to champion.”

Dr Foley’s vision is for Australia to lead the world in many research areas and for our research communities to have far stronger connections with industry.  This is a belief that DUG holds dear as we strive to build the world’s most energy efficient datacentres and HPC technologies.

 

“Quantum information technology is going to be a massive game changer. And we need to be on top of it.”

Dr Foley’s comments supporting quantum computing, education and diversity all resonate with DUG and our opinions and stories have been talked about often in this blog.  Dr Foley outlines a clear pathway to achieving an innovative and creative, scientific literate, population capable of solving the challenge of the coming decades.

 

 “Science is a crucial tool for solving the big challenges that we face here and overseas.”

The COVID19 pandemic has shone a bright light on the importance of fundamental science research, where decades of work allowed us to build safe vaccines in a matter of 18 months.  But the advances don’t stop there.  That same research is now advancing our struggles with malaria and other diseases.

 

 “In short, COVID-19 has been an international disaster story and a scientific success story.”

It is great to see such clarity in vision and eloquent statement of the case from a world-class scientist and Chief Scientist.

 

  “We need people who are creative thinkers, who will use their imagination to push the boundaries.”

My own personal take-aways from her address are

  • Regardless of your background and academic challenges, you can hope, dream and achieve a role such as Chief Scientist
  • Use your brain to its maximum potential
  • Be creative, innovative and driven
  • Support STEM education, research and careers
  • Value the scientific endeavour

How amazing that one speech can inspire such thoughts, reminders and aspirations! I look forward to following Dr Foley’s journey in the role of Chief Scientist and learning from how she handles the big surprises that will surely come with such a role.

Congratulations Dr Foley on your appointment and thankyou for your speech and support of the science community in Australia.

 

By Stuart Midgley

Stuart Midgley is DUG's CIO and self-confessed "mad scientist". He holds a PhD in theoretical physics and is a world expert in high-performance computing. Stuart designed and developed the DUG Cool system of immersive cooling technology and was instrumental in the construction of DUG's world-class greenest data centres on earth. He's just as handy behind a BBQ. After all, he owns 17 of them.

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