Appliance of science stores up hope for a brighter future
Science and youth are like motherhood and apple pie: everybody supports them and nobody is against them.
The yearly Young Scientist exhibition celebrates both. It is an uplifting occasion. Hordes of clever and creative youngsters display the fruits of their learning and toil. If these kids are this country’s future, the future is bright.
Very early yesterday morning a greyer-headed group gathered on the fringe of the exhibition. BT, the telco sponsoring the event, sought to infect an older audience with the fever of youthful innovation abroad in the Royal Dublin Society this week.
Speakers (your correspondent was one) chipped in ideas on innovation, and an audience, coming mostly from the world of commerce, kicked them about.
Among the speakers wasSeán O’Driscoll, the boss of Glen Dimplex, an Irish company which makes and sells across a range of domestic appliances into markets from east Asia to North America.
From its 26 research and development centres around the world, O’Driscoll’s company has developed a new generation of storage heaters.
It has ploughed more money into the project than any other in the company’s 40-year history.
O’Driscoll believes the pay-off will be big because wind and solar power, among other things, are transforming the electricity industry and that intelligent storage heating is the future.
Ireland needs many more businesses and bosses like Glen Dimplex and O’Driscoll.
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn also spoke. She runs the European Commission’s efforts to bolster research and innovation across the continent.
Her message was upbeat, as was that of Irishman Niall Dunne. Enigmatically titled “chief sustainability officer” at BT in London, he believes that the world may be on the cusp of “the next great industrial revolution”.
If the national mood has lifted recently, it was nowhere more in evidence than in the RDS yesterday.