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Maintaining a tradition going back at least one year, my January column for Australasian Science magazine was about speaking to the clever kids at the Young Scientist Awards.
I would like to congratulate everyone here tonight - the students who are winners just for getting here whether they win first prize or not, their parents, because without their encouragement the students would not be here, and the teachers for their skills and dedication.
I'm not a scientist, in that I don't do science for a living, although I write for a science magazine, Australasian Science, where I've had a regular column since 2003. I did very well in science at high school and my friend Graham and I shared the top two places in every test, assignment and exam throughout our time there. Unfortunately there was nothing like these awards then to encourage and extend us. If we wanted to do anything extra like run experiments it had to be done in our own time after school (depending on the availability of a teacher) or in lunch breaks. It is encouraging to hear that from next year class time will be available for the sort of work we're celebrating tonight and the work will be assessable as part of the general curriculum.