Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We Hate You. Please Save Us

There is an episode of the Simpson's where Springfield unites against Lisa Simpson who questions the veracity of an angel skeleton. In a very short time, the citizens launch a mob attack against the town's scientific institutions, Moe decides to destroy the skeleton of a woolly mammoth at the Springfield Natural History Museum, yelling "Take that, science!" Predictably, the tusk falls off, crushing him. "Oof, I'm paralyzed," observes Moe. "I only hope medical science can cure me."

Ireland will be saved by science. Here is a document from the Taoiseach about the new smart economy.

One main idea is to "invest heavily in research and development, incentivise multinational companies to locate more R&D capacity in Ireland, and ensure the commercialisation and retaining of ideas that flow from that investment;"

So how does Ireland treat science? Well take the LHC launched fully today. There is a great article here about the disdain this project is meet with by our government. We won't spend the 10 million annually that would make us a part of the project.

Not that no Irish people are helping out but they have to work with foreign research groups if they want to help figure out how the universe works.
“Nobody knows what is going to happen, that is why we are doing it,” stated Dr Steve Myers, the Irish physicist in charge of the largest atom smasher ever built.

So no 10 million annually out of a total of 6.5 billion it will cost to work out how the nature of the universe.

Irish scientists are not valued either. There is a poll of the greatest Irishmen of all time. There is no scientist on the list. Dr Noel Browne is the closest but he is there as a politician. No Walton, Robert Boyle or William Rowan Hamilton.

But you do have Joe Dolan, Colin Farrell, Stephen Gately, Ronan Keating, Daniel O'Donnell and Louis Walsh.

We have space for Daniel O'Donnell but not Nobel prize winner Ernest Walton. We don't have 10 million for CERN but we do have 32000 million for the governments friends.

What can you say? I'll leave it to another Nobel prizewinner

What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone?
For men were born to pray and save:
Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,

September 1913
William Butler Yeats


Oblivious said...

You got to question the logic of a "smart economy" when PhD's are been turned out with out any really career structure or jobs in their field of study.

The sad fact for all the slapping ours self's on the the back for have some of the worlds major big pharma all they do is QC an no major research where the long term direct and in direct jobs are

red dave said...

Agreed the lets get more PhD's mantra seems odd when many Phd's in hard sciences cannot get jobs. Or if they can the jobs are at a QC level someone with a cert could do.