FOR Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, there’s more to science than the fields of physics, genetics, engineering and computing.
For Australia’s budding scientists, their true impact – at least for the time being – lies in the world of politics.
The University of Sydney Julius Sumner Miller fellow was in Albury on Monday morning on behalf of the Border Trust, speaking to students from secondary schools right across the Border about a life in science, and the role it has to play in society's future.
“I have a one and a half hour window, and in that window I have to get through a lot of stuff,” Kruszelnicki said.
The popular doctor listed five main fields of science that would be the basis of employment for many in the room; genetics, engineering, computers and artificial intelligence, physics, and the environment.
In typical Dr Karl fashion, he was a whirlwind of information and facts – an equal blend of realist and optimist.
Another of his major talking points was the concept of ‘moonshots’, where a nation pours resources into a specific scientific endeavour – a term coined by the United States’ determination to put man on the moon throughout the 1960s.
Where many might have enthused about the fun to be had in a scientific field, Kruszelnicki is frank about what needs to be done, particularly when it comes to an issue like global warming.
That being said, the affable scientist isn’t all doom and gloom.
“I go into a big positive finish at the end,” he said.
“I point out how firstly, we can fix global warming – we can get our electricity in 10 years, worldwide, without burning carbon.
“The background is that they have to go into politics, because that’s where the power is.
“I tell the story of how I attempted to go into politics but failed, but it was a great education.
“The second point is that they are smarter than their parents by nine IQ points; this is called the Flynn Effect.
“The third message of hope is that we are living in the most peaceful time ever in the history of the human race.”
Kruszelnicki also touched on the impact economics had on advances in science, pointing out that China was on the way to becoming one of “the greenest countries in the world” after realising air pollution was drastically reducing the life expectancy of its citizens.
“That’s why I’m telling students to run for politics; unfortunately a lot of parents will say you don’t want to do that, they’re all crooked.
“But that is exactly the point – if they’re crooked, you should get in there and fix it.”
In addition to Monday morning’s lecture, Kruszelnicki spoke at the Regent Cinema on Monday evening.
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