7 October 2008

Lord Drayson, have we got an iconic project for you?

On his recent appointment as science minister, Lord Paul Drayson gave an interview to the Guardian that set a few pulses racing. The new minister said that:
the country needed large-scale "iconic" challenges to show young people that science can offer a "wonderful life".
Lord Drayson, how about rebuilding HMS Beagle during 2009, the year of Charles Darwin's bicentenary then sending her round the world crewed by young British scientists and students, celebrating and updating the work of Charles Darwin, father of evolutionary theory and Captain Robert Fitzroy founder of climate science?

Students from GCSE level working alongside PhDs carrying out up to date peer-reviewed science as we sail, streaming film and audio of the voyage to classrooms and labs ashore where people can follow the science and sailing as it happens. Showing the excitement and adventure of science as we make landfall where Darwin walked, researched and was inspired.

Charles Darwin said, "The voyage of the Beagle has been by far the most important event in my life and has determined my whole career." A rebuilt HMS Beagle sailing the world in the great scientist's wake, acting as an ambassador for science, for Darwin's legacy and involving young scientists in genuine scientific research? It doesn't get more iconic than that.

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