The following quotes are taken from an address by Suzanne Cory, President of the Australian Academy of Science, speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra in July 2013.

“We have this incredible $200 million machine in Melbourne – the synchrotron. It accelerates electrons almost to the speed of light, and can be used in many different forms of research, from microbiology to agriculture, from nanomaterials to forensics.

“The Australian Synchrotron is one of the world’s best. Scientists from many nations come to use it. The decision to build this facility was visionary, and it is in high demand.

“But since it opened in 2007, there has been a constant scramble to claw enough funds for its operation. And only the original nine beam lines have been built, despite a total potential capacity of 38 beam lines.

“I’d like to quote a second Australian Nobel laureate, Professor Brian Schmidt, who puts the situation thus: ‘it’s as if Australia bought a $200 million car and drives it only around the block, because it’s too expensive to put it on the road’.”

Full text of Suzanne Cory's address on The Conversation.