When 7-year-old Sophie wrote to Australia's leading science agency and asked for a dragon, we knew it was time to step up our dragon R&D program.
We’ve been doing science since 1926 and we’re quite proud of what we have achieved. We’ve put polymer banknotes in your wallet, insect repellent on your limbs and Wi-Fi in your devices. But we’ve missed something.
There are no dragons.
Over the past 87 odd years we have not been able to create a dragon or dragon eggs. We have sighted an eastern bearded dragon at one of our telescopes, observed dragonflies and even measured body temperatures of the mallee dragon. But our work has never ventured into dragons of the mythical, fire breathing variety.
And for this Australia, we are sorry.
This came to our attention today when we received the following letter:
Hello Lovely Scientist
My name is Sophie and I am 7 years old. My dad told me about the scientists at the CSIRO. Would it be possible if you can make a dragon for me. I would like it if you could but if you can’t thats fine.
I would call it toothless if it was a girl and if it is a boy I would name it Stuart.
I would keep it in my special green grass area where there are lots of space. I would feed it raw fish and I would put a collar on it. If it got hurt I would bandage it if it hurt himself. I would play with it every weekend when there is no school.
Love from Sophie
Last week the Scientific American hypothesised whether dragon fire would be produced by flint, gas, or rocket fuel. We already do some research in alternative fuels, so perhaps dragon fuel is a good area for us to start accelerating our dragon R&D program. Hobbit fans would have observed the amount of fire in Smaug’s belly. But how much energy could it produce? Would dragon fuel be a low emissions option?
Thanks for the fuel for thought, Sophie. We’re looking into it. In the meantime, you can always admire the brood of Daenerys Targaryen.
* * *
UPDATE: We made Sophie a dragon. Really. Check it out in our latest post, Here be 3D printed dragons.
8th January 2014 at 1:26 pm
If the Fed’s won’t fund this research, I offer my piggy bank to a Microryza crowd funding campaign! (https://www.microryza.com/)
7th January 2014 at 10:17 pm
what fun! my son wants to do a cross between a lizard and a bat to create a dragon … he asked me to fund research … rsrsrsrsrs
7th January 2014 at 10:22 pm
ahhhhhhh … a cross with DNA
9th January 2014 at 8:55 am
7th January 2014 at 5:51 pm
adorable, i think she can find some creature closed to dragon in indonesia as know as a komodo 🙂
7th January 2014 at 2:54 pm
Its amazing how far a young mind can go. We need to renew our minds as scientists.
8th January 2014 at 9:38 pm
We need to renew our scientists contracts!
10th January 2014 at 10:43 pm
Anya you are so right…..Amazing that now she and her friends want to explore the area of science. And the study of dragons can lead to a number of disciplines. I say yea to dragons and nay to Miley Cyrus. Throw in some of McCaffrey’s Pern dragon books on the way, and you never know what may evolve from that mix. This is a story I will follow.
6th January 2014 at 7:17 pm
Hmm…. not sure encouraging a 7 year old to watch Game of Thrones is a good idea, but dragons are!!
7th January 2014 at 10:13 pm
Um, pretty sure she watched How to Train Your Dragon as opposed to Game of Thrones. Both however are most excellent!
8th January 2014 at 7:17 pm
Oops, you were referring to the last line. Not sure how I missed that, sorry!
8th January 2014 at 9:30 am
Ummm black faced dragon named toothless wearing a collar and eating fish…. straight out of the children’s movie How to Train Your Dragon not Game of Thrones but guess there’s got to be someone with a naysayer comment on every post. I thought this little girl’s letter was so cute. it’s good to see kids still exercising their imagination…. and writing actual letters!!
8th January 2014 at 9:42 am
I was referring to “In the meantime you can admire the brood of Daenerys Targaryen”, which is distinctly GOT.
I thought the letter was ridiculously cute too. My reply was a bit tongue in cheek.
And, well, come on CSIRO. If they can do it on Pern, we can do it on Terra
8th January 2014 at 5:59 pm
It’s ok Di, I got it ;p
8th January 2014 at 6:27 pm
Because children shouldn’t be exposed to politics, good writing or unpleasantness? I’m just thankful my parents thought different.
9th January 2014 at 1:36 pm
Well, it’s more that parents shouldn’t have to explain that much T&A (and great gouts of blood, and GRRM’s tendancy off people in a gruesome manner) to a 7 year old. There’s plenty of good writing, politics and even unpleasantness that is a bit more age-friendly.
11th January 2014 at 8:37 am
8th January 2014 at 10:43 pm
She should be spending more time in improving her English and spelling instead of watching Game of Throne or How to Train your Dragon!
8th January 2014 at 11:31 pm
lol, she’s only 7 mate.
9th January 2014 at 12:17 pm
Really! She is 7! Encouraging a creative mind and opening a child’s eyes to science is important, well done CSIRO.
What’s the point of correct English when you have nothing relevant to say.
9th January 2014 at 6:27 pm
Given she is only 7 she has written a great letter for one that age. Good on the parents for their encouragement and also the CSIRO for their response. It’s even better that many other kids are now encouraged and enthusiastically considering becoming scientists, even if it doesn’t last it’s a start. A hell of a lot better than considering wearing little to nothing and being in a music video.