Science could make us 'a clever little country'

17:00, Jun 06 2012

Scientists have not communicated well with the public, says the Government's chief science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman.

But a forum in Gisborne will hopefully lead to a "step change" in the way science is seen by society.

Speaking to The Dominion Post at Tolaga Bay during the Transit of Venus yesterday, Sir Peter said one of the goals of the three-day forum of 250 leaders from science, iwi and government was to start a conversation between scientists and the community about the role of science in New Zealand's future.

Science was increasingly central to society's decisions, but "scientists have not done a good job of talking about what science can do to contribute in a broad range of ways to our future.

"We could do an awful lot more for this country if we just used the talents of our people better and engaged people more with what the scientific community can do for them."

People's desire for the future was well understood: to be healthy, have a good environment, a socially cohesive society and a high standard of living. "Science can contribute to every one of those goals, much better than it does now."

"I would love people to see that we have ... very talented scientists and we could become a clever little country like other clever little countries, and change our economy and change our society."

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The Dominion Post