Why I love being a scientist

In her National Press Club STEM address today, the President of Science & Technology Australia, Professor Emma Johnston, spoke about what  it’s like working in science and tech today and why Aussies love it so much.

“Australians love science and technology and recognise it as the solutions sector, but there is so much more that can be done to support its success in Australia.”

“In science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine we are ambassadors for, and creators, of the future. Every day I have the privilege of working on solutions to grand challenges and every day I have the privilege of facilitating the work of others who do the same.”

“[Science & technology has] allowed us to build the tools that illuminate the world: the cameras to see the hidden recesses of the human body, the satellites that communicate and measure changing landscapes, and the telescopes that explore the furthest reaches of the known universe,” Professor Johnson said today in the National Press Club STEM address.

“We’ve also built the tools to connect the world. The internet and digital communication technologies have thrown open access to education, so that many more of the next generation can learn how to question and how to quest… how to right the mistakes of our past. It’s allowed people on one side of the world to share cutting-edge research and innovation to address profound challenges on the other.

“We also know this message of hope is one that ordinary Australians share. We’ve surveyed the Australian community and found a whopping 94% of people believe that Australian science and technology is important to their health and wellbeing.

“90% agree that the very latest science and technology should inform policy and action on global challenges, and 78% think we should be investing more in research.

“Which, in my view makes perfect sense; knowledge, ideas and innovation are the ultimate renewable resources that generate positive returns, over and over again.

“In Australia, as citizens, we increasingly rely on, understand, and celebrate the benefits of extraordinary advances in science and technology. This was only recently affirmed when we anointed the excellent Michelle Simmons – a quantum physicist – our 2018 Australian of the year. We celebrated biophysicist Graham Farquhar as senior Australian of the Year, and inspired maths teacher Eddie Woo as the Local Hero.

“[I firmly believe] in Australia’s core identity as innovators, and our potential as solution-makers for the future. Australians want to explore, to discover, to understand and to improve.

“We like challenges. We want to think for ourselves, to write our own stories, and to take on humankind’s biggest problems.”

Read Professor Emma Johnson’s full speech at the National Press Club STEM address here.

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