A great time for science - or is it?
Sir, – On July 12th, Charlie Bolden, (Nasa administrator and former shuttle commander) spoke in Trinity College Dublin. In the course of his talk, he addressed a little girl in the audience in roughly the following terms: You’re eight years old. That’s just the right age! By the time you’ve finished college we’ll be ready for Mars. If you work hard and qualify you could apply to go. We could put you on a rocket and send you. It’s possible! You could walk on Mars!
It is depressing to compare this with the recent statement by the Minister for State for Research and Innovation (Letters, July 10th): “Government funding provided through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) aims to foster the long term development and competitiveness of enterprise and industry.” I leave it to your readers to decide which approach is more likely to inspire children to follow a career in science.
To the Minister I would say: Don’t worry about the economy. Give young people the space and opportunity to dream and imagine, which is their birthright, and the economy will take care of itself. – Yours, etc,