By Matin Durrani, Sydney, Australia
It’s a tough life, but someone had to do it.
I’m here in Sydney with three other European science journalists after accepting an invitation from Australia’s Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade to take part in a week-long fact-finding tour of the country on the theme of “science and innovation”.
We’re being introduced to a range of Australian scientists and later this week are flying to Perth before being taken to the proposed site for the main component of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). SKA is a set of radio-telescopes that will either be built in Australia and New Zealand or possibly in southern Africa. A choice is set to be made between the two competing bids by the international astronomy community on 29 February 2012.
The Australian government has a regular programme of inviting journalists from around the world to help showcase the country’s efforts in a range of different themes, not just science. You can’t blame them for making the effort. After all, Australia is just so far from the rest of the world – it’s a five-hour flight from Sydney to Perth alone – that a well-crafted programme of events is what’s needed to encourage busy journalists to give up their time to find out more.
So over the next few days I’ll be keeping you up to date with events Down Under. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the photo I took from Circular Quays as an early Sunday-morning passenger ferry from Manly approaches me with the iconic Sydney harbour bridge in the background.
Australians have been moaning about all the poor weather they’ve been having in the last week or two, but all I can say is that having left the UK late last week, the Sydney winter seems as good as the summer I left behind.
I won’t make you jealous by showing what the beaches look like – oh, go on then (see below).