The Cow-pat Agenda. "Fields of Discovery: Australia's CSIRO", by Brad Collis. [review]
If you are looking for a rattling good yarn of national success that is, for a change, neither military nor sporting, "Fields of Discovery" is your book. Rich with Eureka moments, Brad Collis has created a great read. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is ‘an Australian icon’ according to the book’s front flap. It provides a framework for a national(ist) story with scientists as heroes. Science is a very important and distinctive aspect of Australian nationhood, but frequently sidelined by cultural historians. The challenge is to write an interesting narrative about ‘Big Science’, which is typically dominated by large teams of workers and labyrinthine administrative structures. Collis has grasped the nettle of the ‘human-sized narrative’ with great success.