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.

Smaug

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

letter

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.

Dragon

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.

97 comments

  1. What a fabulous article! Fueling a child’s imagination is so important… Science has it’s roots in imagination… If people didn’t dream of flying, creating light, having technology to speak to others on the opposite side of the world how different would our lives be?!
    Sophie (and her parents) keep those dreams big – and keep knocking on doors 🙂
    Thank you for starting my day with such a big smile!

  2. Reblogged this on fluffysciences and commented:
    Well this is just adorable.

    When we get around to it, my dragon will be called Ramoth of course

    1. I do blame Anne McCaffrey for my love of dragons. I also keep looking for those faeries at the bottom of my garden- I’m sure I’ve seen them out of the corner of my eye.

      1. They must be there!

      2. Natalie, I too blame Anne McCaffrey for my love of Dragons. If only I had been as brave as Sophie when I was her age to write to scientists, Dragon Research would have been going on for more than 20 years.

  3. Thank you Vanessa Hill, thank you CSIRO. A sense of humor and engaging young people is a positive thing. :-). Also I especially love the fact that this letter was written and posted old school style.

  4. Dear Sophie

    We do have ‘pretend’ dragon eggs which you might find fun (mum and dad, please help):

    http://www.csiro.au/helix/sciencemail/activities/DragonEggs.html

    all the best

    George (not THAT George)

  5. People, she is just a child. Lets delight in her imagination than going gung-ho on Game of thrones etc, and leaving dicouraging comments and bring her down. I make spelling mistakes al tha tyme. Leave her to her beautiful creative mind, and let her develop how her parents see fit. Seems like a bright young lady, with lovely parents. Would you be so nasty to your children? You are best to know that, and keep it to yourselves.

    Just a simple letter from a lovely girl took different directions. Shame on you.

    @Sophies parents, keep her imagination alive.

    Sophie, you are awesome. One day, one of your letters might change something.

    1. Well said and well done Sophie. The letter has already changed my mood and that’s something. I suspect I may not be alone either. Sophie is likely to have done more for the cause of science in Australia this year than anyone else. Bravo to the CSIRO, keep up the great work.

      Sophie, I hope you get a dragon soon (sorry mum and dad)

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