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.


A mythical generator: Could the fire in Smaug’s belly power a small city?

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


Fanmail, with a call for dragon R&D.

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.


Sophie’s dragon.


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UPDATE: We made Sophie a dragon. Really. Check it out in our latest post, Here be 3D printed dragons.


  1. You need to hire a woman called Kitti Ping. She’s the one who’ll make sure it all comes together for you. Of course you might have to ensure we travel through space and set up a colony on Pern, to discover dragonets (http://pern.wikia.com/wiki/Fire_lizard) first…

  2. Here’s to Dragon Fuel! Nice work CSIRO – I always thought Science and magic were intertwined. Perhaps we can partner with our friends over the Tasman in Middle Earth.

  3. In addition to being fuel alternative, surely dragons would be lucrative asset to the mineral resources industry (if you can convince them to give up the goods)? Maybe a collaborative funding deal with BHP or Rio Tinto could make Sophie’s dream a reality?

    *Stay off GoT for now though Soph, stick with Hiccup and friends – Daenarys could probably pick up a few pointers from them herself because her dragons are very naughty at the moment. ;o)

  4. Wonderful response by the CSIRO Team, not only have they kept the dreams of a young person well and truly alive, but they have shown that Australia’s great minds still know what it’s like to dream as well. Keep up the great work!

  5. Well done CSIRO … You definitely made one little girl very HAPPY and I bet plenty more who haven’t had the chance to send in letters… GOOD WORK!!

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