Chief’s science fiction

Alan Finkel rather gave the game away last month when he was photographed with a praetorian guard of Daleks (CMM August 21) but the Chief Scientist is a big science fiction fan. “It is a respectable pursuit for leaders such as yourselves,” he told an august audience at Melbourne’s Cranlana Institute on Wednesday. Not any old space opera mind you, he referred to writing where the laws of physics apply and where authors have ideas that influence and inspire your actual scientists.

Much like being chief scientist really and getting to commission “horizon scanning projects” to identify the shape of things to come on; energy storage, precision medicine and gene editing, synthetic biology and the internet of things.

And SF can help envisage the future, if not inform, CMM is sure federally-funded horizon scanning. What Dr Finkel has in mind is;

“science fiction, which carves out a space for the future in our minds. So that no-one is blindsided. So that people are challenged to think, and helped to be informed. So that we can calibrate public policy with a better sense of the sort of challenges we might be facing ahead.”

There are however limits, word is Dr Finkel drives a Tesla not a Tardis.