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.


*  *  *

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


  1. While I am not sure about dragons as a fuel source, I believe that there ability to ‘leap’ through time and space (as evidenced in MaCaffrey’s Pern) would be invaluable during natural disasters.

  2. I work in Higher Edu to recruit Chinese students to study in Aust. Heard this on ABC news this morning, loved it, and posted it to Chinese social media site Weibo and Wechat. I explained that Aust education is to encourage children to find their own answers, instead of asking them to remember what we adult think the right answer is. So far received lots of response from Chinese parents, they loved it and extremely surprised that Aust scientists treated a little girl’s request so seriously! Well done Australia!

    1. In the 1400’s Zheng He’s voyages “around?” the world, brought back proof to the empror and the people of China, there were actual dragons. He brought two giraffes from Africa, and put low any doubt from that point on. People should remember that Chinese dragons rarely spit fire. There were many kinds and shapes. The giraffe easily fit the pattern of several of the established “known” dragon lore!! Why Zheng He is not more prominent in World History is a mystery. And the fact the 1434 expedition to Italy was a profound influence on the European renaissance is missing from history as well.

      1. I’ll stand corrected on the 1434 expedition to Europe, that may not be provable, but certainly has interesting connotations. Including Sinbad the Sailor was probably Chinese too 😉

  3. They probably won’t find anything though as dragons only reveal themselves to people who REALLY believe.

    1. Yes, Natalie, they do 🙂

      1. Well, you should know. They have patience and always get their way. They hate liars and cheats. will be your best friend if you do the right thing and destroy you if you dont.

  4. Dragons have existed they created hydrogen as a bi product of their digestive tract this fuelling their fiery breath their bones being hollow and the dragons being able to fill them with hydrogen aided them in flight sadly it is the reason that there are no fossils of dragons for on their death it caused (the hydrogen) them to burst into flame consequently leaving no trace of their existence in empirical form. The evidence of their existence is proven by the very fact that all cultures from very early times have recorded dragons and the similarity of their description both in drawings and verbal is to great for it to be a just a myth.And as be shown time and time again all myths are based of substantive fact.
    One noted researcher argued in his thesis on dragons, disputing the sceptics views that according to the laws of aerodynamics bumble bees should not have flight because of their shape so how can heavy dragons which were like big lizards fly. The weight factor is discounted by the hollow bones (birds) and hydrogen emission. We dream, we ponder, we invent, we grow, we think, we learn, we hope, we believe and so we live.Happy New Year Peter Ward Merriwa

    1. i love love LOVE this! and wether its right or wrong im choosing to believe it

  5. Can someone please pass on to Sophie. A
    Black Salamanda or Axalotl s identical to “Toothless” if thats what shes after. Most pet shops can get the version that dont have wings as they tend to fly away.

    My son debated with a pet shop owner on when their wings would grow in.

    Their great pets, much better than fish and great to watch feeding at night. They will eat right out of your hand.

    Best of luck Sophie.

Commenting on this post has been disabled.