Paul Callaghan’s vision, five years on – Reflections on Science

To launch its new science section, The Spinoff asked Kiwi scientists reflect on Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision of making New Zealand “the place talent wants to live”.

An excerpt (read in full):

Sir Peter Gluckman: Paul would be pleased – and impatient

Paul was a good friend with whom I had many conversations about the state of the country we love. Our shared thesis was that New Zealand must become a smarter nation to get beyond its real challenges of geo-strategic isolation. There is no doubt that core to meeting this challenge is to develop or attract and retain smart people across the full spectrum of social and natural sciences and the humanities. It was to the sciences that Paul and I gave most of our attention. Science and technology are key to balancing our biological and environmental economies with our conservation sensibilities, and to taking advantage of the digital future.

I think that if we look over the past decade a lot has changed and Paul played a major part in that change, as have many others. New Zealanders, famous for adventure sports, have now opened up to taking risks that could broaden our knowledge and boost our economy. We are finally seeing less of the “tall poppy syndrome” and an excitement around scientific knowledge and technologies that could make a real difference for our country.

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