I seem to have spent the last month sitting on the top deck of various British Airways 747’s covering most of the world. The experience is largely random but rarely unpleasant, and while some crews efficiently and discretely top up glasses and whisk away plates, the current bunch (BA284 from San Francisco) seem more like a bunch of autonoma programmed by the Keystone Cops! At the moment the entertainment system has crashed somewhere over Idaho and will take thirty minutes to reboot – lets just hope the flight computers are rather more robust!
I recently asked a question on LinkedIn’s UK Nanotech forum about the overseas perception of UK nanotechnology. While we know the science base is world class, whenever Bubba from Indianapolis bounces up to me at a conference and asks “Hey, er, Tim, what’s happening in England” I’m always at a loss to reel off a list of the UK’s greatest nanotech hits with the ease with which some of my colleagues from other parts of the world can do, although a few high profile disasters do spring to mind.
The most worrying aspect is that no one responded to my question, either with outrage or screeds of facts about nanotech funding and UK conferences to prove me wrong.. Is it that we don’t care, is nothing happening, or is government policy just to produce more poor quality PR ? Before anyone gets too outraged, I’m referring to the ad from the Welsh Development Authority which you have to watch before every BA film, extolling the virtues of Wales and portraying it as the industrial powerhouse of western Europe rather than a rather nice place with rather nice people and some great hiking, which would be both more truthful and more appealing.
So come on UK, we know that BA is, in general, a decent airline (if you disagree then just try flying with their One World partner, American Airlines) and we know that the UK has some good science if not the most competitive business environment right now. However at an event like Nanofinance can’t we find a stonking great success story rather than a company which closed down two years ago as the best examples of UK Nanotech?
Feel free to argue, but I’m sure that we should, and can do better!