Tue 29 October 2019: Distance-Sourced Tsunamis (2019 Geoscience NZ Hochstetter lecture)

Tuesday 29 October 2019 at 7.30pm

Holt Planetarium, Napier Boys High School, Chambers Street, Napier

Dr Bill Fry, Research Seimologist, GNS Science

Any country that borders the ocean is prone to tsunami. New Zealand is no exception and is exposed to tsunami from distant (e.g. South America), regional (e.g. Kermadec) and local (e.g. Hikurangi and Puysegur) earthquake sources. It has recently been recognized that during great subduction earthquakes (magnitude > 8) to the north of New Zealand along the Kermadec trench, the densely populated coastal areas on the north coast of New Zealand may not experience shaking that is significant enough to trigger effective and widespread self-evacuation. Since 2001, the Kermadec trench has generated over a dozen subduction earthquakes with magnitude > 6.5 that have not been strongly felt in north-western New Zealand, the largest with magnitude 7.7. A tsunami-generating earthquake in this region could potentially leave 10s of thousands of people exposed. The lack of obvious natural warning signs coupled with short tsunami travel times (~ 45 to 90+ minutes) from these earthquakes poses a significant risk to these communities; a risk which must be addressed by supplementing natural warning with a cautious interpretation of available instrumental data. Lack of strong shaking from these earthquakes is a function of both the most basic characteristic of earthquake ground shaking (the asymmetric way seismic energy from the earthquake source spreads out and travels to New Zealand) and the loss of seismic energy as waves travel through the volcanic region between Taupo and Tonga. These effects combine to reduce the ability of natural warning based on ground shaking to keep communities safe, and are likely applicable to major earthquake scenarios in other regions of the world. This finding suggests that for optimal reduction of loss of life during large regional earthquakes, self-evacuation messaging must be carefully explained and supplemented with scientific monitoring and alerting mechanisms to protect vulnerable populations. 

Bill Fry is a research seismologist with GNS Science, a NZ Crown Research Institute, tasked with public good earth science, including monitoring and researching geohazards. He obtained his PhD in 2008 from ETH-Zurich in geophysics and has worked at GNS ever since, responding to earthquake and tsunami crises in NZ and liaising with government (central and regional) on numerous occasions through these responses. He has widely published on theoretical and applied topics in seismology and advises the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre on technical issues. His current passions lie in using physics to understand changes in the Earth on human time-scales — processes that dynamically affect humanity. 

Mon 14 Oct 2019: Beatrice Hill Tinsley 2019 Lecture tour

Monday 14 October 2019 at 6pm

EIT Taradale
Babak Tafreshi

The World at Night
Bridging science, art and culture by connecting the Earth & sky in photography. Babak Tafreshi spent the past two decades photographing surreal scenes of night sky in all continents, an adventurous journey to the world at night where the wonders of Earth & sky merge in photography.

This talks also presents The World at Night (TWAN) international program that involves many of the world’s best nightscape photographers documenting the last remaining starry skies on the planet to increase public awareness on values of natural night environment for all species. TWAN is also a bridge between art, humanity, and science, with a unique message. The eternally peaceful sky looks the same above symbols of all nations and regions, attesting to the unified nature of Earth and mankind. One People, One Sky!

TWAN produce and present photographs and time-lapse videos of the world’s landmarks against the celestial attractions. The familiar context of the images, which represent naked eye views, add a new tool to efforts to popularize astronomy alongside images and science results from large telescopes. The photos have been used by astronomy educators world-wide as they educate viewers on many fundamental aspects of practical astronomy such as the natural look of sky, constellations, celestial motions, and sky events. With the images taken at important cultural sites around the world, the connection between our many cultures and the night sky through history is emphasized, particularly in images that include ancient sites of astronomical importance. www.twanight.org

Babak A. Tafreshi is a photojournalist and science communicator. The National Geographic night sky photographer, merging art and science, he is also the founder and director of The World At Night program, a board member of Astronomers Without Borders organization, a contributing photographer to Sky&Telescope magazine and the European Southern Observatory. Born in 1978 in Tehran, Babak lives in Boston, but he is often on the move and could be anywhere, from the heart of Sahara to the Himalayas or Antarctica. He received the 2009 Lennart Nilsson Award, the world’s most recognized award at the time for scientific imaging, for his global contribution to night sky photography.

Mon 21 Oct 2019: Two topics from Plant and Food Research Measuring Sustainability and CRISPR Crops

Monday 21 October 2019 at 6pm

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 1

Dr Craig Anderson and Dr Revel Drummond


Admission by Gold coin donation

Craig Anderson will attempt to illustrate the ‘sustainability’ of current and future food production through the lens of ‘energy-returnon-investment’ (EROI).

He believes that EROI can more rationally frame the impact technological transformations could have and make some assumptions about the trajectory of our future with respect to our environment.

Revel Drummond will explain what CRISPR is, and is not, and how it could help protect NZ crops. As CRISPR modifies a plant’s DNA, it is currently caught by the blanket ban on genetic modification in this country. Revel discusses whether this is appropriate, and whether NZ risks missing out on this technological revolution.

Tue 10 Sept 2019: Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry: the science

Tuesday 10 September 2019 at 6pm

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 1

Dr Brent Gilpin

Institute of Environmental Science and Research

In August 2016, the Havelock North water supply became contaminated with the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni. As a result, thousands became ill, and the deaths of four people were directly linked to the outbreak.

This is not only the largest campylobacteriosis outbreak in the world, but arguably it is also the most comprehensively studied. Unravelling the causes of the outbreak required the combined application of multiple scientific disciplines. This public lecture will describe the outbreak investigation, the causes of the outbreak, and how this outbreak is transforming the management of drinking water, not only in New Zealand, but worldwide.

Dr Brent Gilpin is Science Leader at the Institute of Environmental Science & Research. He is a molecular microbiologist whose primary research interests include the application of genetic analysis techniques to understanding foodborne and waterborne outbreaks and disease, microbial water quality, faecal source tracking, and zoonoses (diseases or infections that can be transmitted from animals to humans). Campylobacter from the Havelock North water supply were isolated in his laboratory from water samples taken on 12 August 2016. Since then the outbreak and its consequences has been a regular feature in his life.

Mon 12 Aug 2019: MacDiarmid Lecture on Innovations for Sustainability

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 1 at 6 pm

By Professor Shane Telfer and Dr Carla Meledandri
The theme of the lecture is along the lines of innovation for sustainability and New Zealand science’s role in offering a greener future for our planet, in areas such as:
* Zero carbon technologies, renewables, carbon capture and more – including solar cells, new types of batteries, negative emission technologies.
* Materials efficiency (replacing rare materials with earth-abundant elements e.g. in your smartphone)

Tue 23 July 2019: Cancer immunotherapy; where does New Zealand fit in?

Tuesday 23 July 2019 at 6pm

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 1

Joshua Lange, PhD Candidate, Malaghan Institute

“Gold coin plus” donations for the benefit of the Malaghan Institute

The human immune system is a complex network of cells and processes that is able to protect us against a wide array of diseases. When our immune system fails, our body can succumb to infections, auto-immune diseases and cancerous malignancies. Our work at the Malaghan Institute combines the use of world-class biotechnology and a community of scientists from all around the world to investigate the mechanisms that drive our immune system and how we can re-engineer it to overcome life-threatening diseases.

This lecture will be given by one of the Malaghan Institute’s PhD students, Hawke’s Bay born and bred Joshua Lange.

Joshua will give an overview on the fundamentals of immunotherapy and how
researchers are using it to re-empower a patient’s own immune system to fight off cancer.
He will also discuss the work surrounding a new major clinical trial at the Malaghan Institute
in close collaboration with the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine. This study is trialling
Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell therapy (CAR T cells) in New Zealanders with B cell
lymphoma, which will be the first time this technology is able to be used in New Zealand.

Joshua received his Bachelor of Science with Honours in 2015 from the University of Otago, working on infectious disease. Since 2016, he has been a PhD candidate at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in Wellington as part of the Cancer Immunotherapy Programme. His research focuses on the development of novel vaccine constructs to drive immune responses to cancer. In close collaboration with the Ferrier Research Institute, these cancer vaccines have been shown to be able to modulate immune cells so that they better recognize and target cancer cells.

In 1966 a group of far-sighted New Zealanders set a course for world-class independent medical research to be carried out right here. In 2016, the Malaghan Institute celebrated 50 years of achievements in cancer, asthma, allergy, gut health and other research.

Tue 18 June 2019: Youth Sexual Health in 2019

Tuesday 18 June 2019 at 6pm

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 2

Assoc. Professor Sonja Ellis

Te Kura Toi Tangata, Division of Education, University of Waikato

Members of the public are welcome – gold coin donation please

The prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is an important public health measure for maintaining sexual health at a population level. In Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) sexual health surveillance data suggest that young people are at substantially higher risk of contracting STIs than in other western countries including the UK and Australia.  While the issues around engaging young people in good sexual health practices are not new; the contextual landscape (e.g. the acceptance of casual sexual engagement, increasing visibility of same-sex sexual relationships, and changing understandings of gender) is markedly different than in previous generations. Drawing on my expertise in LGBTIQ psychology, my recent study of sexual health practices in 16-19 year olds in NZ, and current international research, this talk explores some of the contemporary challenges of sexual health promotion and STI prevention among today’s youth. Implications for sexual health education/promotion will be discussed.

 Sonja J. Ellis is an Associate Professor in Human Development at The University of Waikato, and is known internationally for her work in the field of LGBTIQ psychology. She is co-author of the textbook Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer Psychology: An Introduction(Cambridge University Press, 2010) – the substantially revised and updated version of which is due out later this year. In 2013 she was awarded the Gender Identity Research & Education Society Research Award for her involvement in the UK Trans Mental Health Study 2012.

Having recently completed a Master of Public Health degree for which she undertook research around youth sexual health, Sonja is now working on a small-scale collaborative project with colleagues on suicide risk in trans and gender diverse persons in Australasia.

Tue 21 May 2019: The Urgent Transition to Minimise Climate Disruption – An Engineer’s take on the Science, Politics and Economic Solution

Tuesday 21 May 2019 at 6pm

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 1

Geoff Henderson
Founder and Managing Director, Windflow Technology

Admission by Gold coin donation

It is a truism to state that the sun powers the Earth’s biosphere, has done for billions of years, and will do for billions to come.  And that our civilisation has developed in the last 5,000 years, but now has an existential dilemma due to the way we harness the sun’s energy and have inadvertently been trapping too much of it.

Four paradigm shifts about energy have been slowly unfolding since the 1970s:

  • Fossil solar energy needs to transition to sustainable solar energy
  • Excess solar energy is being trapped by the products of burning fossil solar energy causing “global warming”
  • That warming is causing temperature rise (and in turn more energetic weather events), but also sea-level rise which may be more of a threat to civilisation
  • The abundance of solar energy means that the problem of (and hence solution to) global warming is more economic than technical.

This paper presents some simple numbers which underpin these shifts. However the process remains slow because of societal inertia.  A sustainable solar energy future will arrive, but the transition could be tempestuous and diluvian for human civilisation unless collective decisions manage to effect a rapid, peaceful transition.  The are some signs of hope that Generation X and the Millennials will act with more urgency than the Baby-Boomers have to date.

Geoff Henderson is the founding director and currently the Managing Director of Windflow Technology Ltd which, since 2001, has raised $150 million to build 106 mid-size (500 kW) New Zealand-made wind turbines in NZ and Scotland. He has been involved in wind power engineering since 1984, including seven years in California and England working at the forefront of wind power technology.

Wed 15 May 2019 Rutherford Memorial Lecture: How plants decide what to do

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser
Director of Sainsbury Laboratory
University of Cambridge

6pm Wednesday 15 May

MTG Hawkes Bay Tai Ahuriri Education Centre
1 Tennyson Street, Napier, 4140

Book Here

‘Thinking like a vegetable: how plants decide what to do’
Dame Ottoline Leyser speaks about how plants adjust growth and development to suit their environmental conditions.

It’s easy to imagine that plants don’t do much if we equate action with movement. But plants are as busy of the rest of us, assessing their surroundings and changing their activity accordingly.

All the time they are balancing competing needs, such as whether to invest limited resources in roots or shoots. Plants make these decisions without the benefit of a brain instead using a sophisticated distributed processing system. Understanding how plants decide what to do has important implications for agriculture.

About the speaker

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser DBE FRS, Univeristy of Cambridge, Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory aims to understand how plants adjust their growth and development to suit the environmental conditions in which they are growing. In particular, she is studying how plants change the number of shoot branches they produce depending on factors such as nutrient supply and damage to the main shoot. She is particularly interested in the roles and mechanisms of action of plant hormones such as auxin.
One of her discoveries — the auxin receptor — has helped to explain how hormone signals shape the response of a plant to its environment. She began studying the growth of shoots in the 1980s in Arabidopsis, which at the time was an emerging model for plant biology.

Ottoline was awarded a CBE in 2009 in recognition of her pioneering work in plant science. In parallel to her research, and in conjunction with the Royal Society, she collated Mothers in Science: 64 Ways to Have it All (PDF), a book that highlights how female scientists have successfully combined parenting with their research careers.

The 2019 New Zealand Rutherford Memorial Lecture is proudly presented by Royal Society Te Apārangi in partnership with The Royal Society, London, and with thanks to Auckland Museum Institute.

About the Rutherford Memorial Lecture

The Rutherford Memorial Lecture was established in 1952 by The Royal Society (London) and since that time, in association with the Royal Society of New Zealand, triennial visits have taken place to New Zealand to present the Rutherford Memorial Lecture. In accordance with the Rutherford Memorial Committee guidelines, the Royal Society of New Zealand Council, now known as the Royal Society Te Apārangi Council, is requested to recommend possible lecturers to The Royal Society (London). Lecturers are chosen from Fellows of The Royal Society (London).

Thu 9 May 2019: Reflections of New Zealand in New Zealand children’s picture books

Thursday 9 May at 6pm

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 2

Dr Nicola Daly

Te Kura Toi Tangata, Division of Education, University of Waikato

Admission: Gold coin donation

Children’s literature tells us a lot about the culture and society in which we live; our values and beliefs. Nicola’s research examines linguistic diversity and the importance of children seeing themselves in the books that they read, enabling children both a view into other people’s worlds (windows), and to see their own reflection (mirrors). When you are part of a small country or a minority culture, your opportunities for windows often outstrip your opportunities for mirrors.

Nicola will describe the process of putting together a set of 22 picture books that reflect New Zealand national identity, and describe what characteristics were reflected in the books. She will also share her more recent research concerning the use of languages in the increasing number of New Zealand bilingual picturebooks, and reflect on what this tells us about language attitudes in Aotearoa.

Nicola Daly is a senior lecturer at the University of Waikato where she teaches courses in children’s literature and additional language learning. She majored in Japanese and linguistics in her undergraduate degrees and completed her PhD in Human Communication Sciences at La Trobe University in 1998. She has received numerous international research fellowships including, most recently, a Fulbright Scholarship to work with World of Wordsat the University of Arizona, a collection of around 30,000 volumes of children’s literature focusing on world cultures and indigenous peoples. She is co-director of the Waikato Picturebook Research Unit, which presents an annual picture book seminar.