Tuesday, 17 October 2023

Reception for the National Youth Science Forum Year 12 Program

Rod and I are delighted to welcome you all to Government House.

First, to the students, congratulations on being selected to participate in the 2024 National Youth Science Forum.

As you head into Year 12, this is an exciting time to be on the threshold of a science, maths, or engineering career.

Using your upcoming summer break to further explore what possibilities are ahead for you will be fun and I hope transformative.

South Australia is a great place to be now, as we develop tomorrow’s industries in space, cyber security, engineering, defence, medicine, AI, renewable energy, and other areas.

Our scientists are already making great advances, building on our proud history of world-class scientific innovation, excellence, and discovery.

Now more than ever we need to support our next generation of scientists to meet a STEM skills shortage throughout Australia.

Many world-class enterprises and research undertakings in South Australia are demonstrating forward thinking and innovation and contributing to our State.

To outline a few:

The Vena Energy solar energy farm near Tailem Bend, which is capable of powering 35,000 homes with renewable energy;

At Lot 14, on North Terrace, and at Beverly, Fleet Space Technologies is at the centre of Australia’s rapidly growing space industry;

SAHMRI at the other end of North Terrace is at the heart of the Adelaide BioMed City – the largest health and medical research precinct in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Tonsley Innovation Precinct is humming with companies translating research findings into practical applications to improve our environment and our health.

As Rod and I visit high schools around the State, we have been impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of students such as yourselves who are eager to be part of an innovative future.

As you might, perhaps, expect, here’s even a link between science and Government House.

One of my predecessors as Governor was Sir Mark Oliphant, a nuclear physicist. His photo is just down the hall and his bust is on the other side of the wall in the gardens lining North Terrace.

The busts of other famous South Australian scientists are there too:

  • Sir William Henry Bragg and his son Lawrence who were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915. Lawrence at the time was only 25.
  • And on the other side of the Braggs is the bust of Howard Florey who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir Alexander Fleming and Ernst Chain for his role in the development of penicillin.

As Rod and I walk by, we often reflect on the world-leading scientific breakthroughs that are part of our history.

We hope their stories will inspire you to explore the unknown and discover something that will change the world.

Rod, in particular will be encouraging, coming from his background as a physicist and science teacher. He is looking forward to meeting you all shortly.


To harness the future we will need bright, young people with curious minds who want to explore what’s over the horizon, and are tenacious and adventurous.

Your participation in the National Youth Science Forum will help you explore your next step.

Through the forum you will be able to interact with each other as scientists, meet working scientists, visit interesting laboratories and importantly network and make connections that will possibly last throughout your career.

I thank the organisers of the Forum for their stewardship over the past 40 years and enabling more than 15,000 alumni to realise life-long STEM engagement.

I also thank Rotary for its outstanding support.

To the students, enjoy your time in either Canberra or Brisbane and at the Adelaide hub later in the year.

It will be an excellent way to kick start your future.

Coming events