Our Moon: a source of wonder and mystery

Gary Sparks, Director, Holt Planetarium

Tuesday 23 June 2015 7:30 PM Holt Planetarium, Chambers St, Napier

A lecture following the Hawke’s Bay Branch Annual General Meeting.

Gary Sparks2Gary Sparks is President of the Hawke’s Bay Astronomical Society and Director of the Holt Planetarium in Napier.

In 2000, A Royal Society Teacher Fellowship enabled Gary to spend a year at the Holt Planetarium developing education programmes and curriculum resources.  In 2002 he was appointed Director of the Holt Planetarium, a role he continues to hold teaching astronomy and space education from pre-school to primary through secondary school.

In this lecture, Gary will discuss the Moon. He says, “The moon is our nearest neighbour in space. It has long been a source of wonder and mystery. This talk will look at the formation of the moon and how its appearance has enchanted people throughout the centuries.”

HoltPlanetarium     HBAstronomicalSoc

Slowly Slipping Earthquakes at the Hikurangi Subduction Zone


Laura Wallace, University of Texas Institute for Geophysics

Tuesday 30 June 2015 at 7:30pm
National Aquarium of New Zealand, Marine Parade Napier

The Hikurangi subduction zone is where the Pacific Plate dives down or “subducts” beneath the eastern North Island. The boundary between the eastern North Island and the Pacific Plate is called the Hikurangi megathrust.  In this pressentation, Laura Wallace will discuss “slow slip events”, which are an exciting new form of fault slip behavior observed on the Hikurangi megathrust beneath the Hawkes Bay, Gisborne, Kapiti, and Manawatu regions.

Slow slip events beneath the North Island also have important implications for our understanding of the earthquake and tsunami hazard posed by the Hikurangi megathrust. The talk will also introduce a recent international scientific investigation of slow slip events and earthquakes offshore Gisborne that involved the deployment of 35 seafloor instruments belonging to the United States and Japan. The instruments were deployed between May 2014 and June 2015 to monitor seismicity and seafloor deformation related to slow slip beneath Poverty Bay.

Laura WallaceDr. Laura Wallace is a Research Scientist at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. Prior to joining the University of Texas, Laura was a research scientist at GNS Science in Lower Hutt for nearly a decade.

Laura is one of the scientists from the research vessel “The Roger Revelle” that is doing seismic work on our coast.

Laura uses a variety of methods to investigate deformation of the Earth’s crust at tectonic plate boundaries, with a particular focus on subduction zone plate boundaries.  She undertakes research at various locations in the western Pacific, and she has spent much of her career trying to better understand earthquake processes on the Hikurangi subduction zone beneath the eastern North Island.

Much of her recent work has been focused on investigating “slow slip events”, a recently discovered form of fault slip behavior, which are now known to occur frequently on Hikurangi subduction zone.

Members and friends are inviited to this National Aquarium of New Zealand Lecture

Admission: Gold coin donation

Please direct any enquiries to carol@nationalaquarium.co.nz

The Energy Revolution

Prof. Jeffery Tallon FRSNZ, Victoria University

Tuesday, 28 July, 7pm, National Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier

The age of fossil fuels is coming to an end.  Global warming from their burning is undeniable.  But when will tomorrow begin?

Will there be a long transition period, with a mish-mash of renewables, while we learn to harness the sun’s energy efficiently, as plants have been doing for 3.5 billion years?  Is there even enough sunlight striking the Earth to supply the increasing energy demands of 6-9 billion humans?  Nuclear energy may be the only realistic alternative for some countries but it’s not an option for a nuclear-averse country like New Zealand, with a small population and large land area split in two.  Can our renewable energy sources satisfy the extra load of a wholesale conversion to electric vehicles?  Or would it be simpler just to filter the CO2 out of vehicle and other emissions instead?  What are the options likely to mean for more remote centres like Nelson, Napier, Whanganui, Tauranga, and oil and gas-producing New Plymouth?

jeff-tallonJeffery Tallon CNZM, FRSNZ, HonFIPENZ is Professor of Physics at Robinson Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington. He is internationally known for his research and discoveries in high-temperature superconductors (HTS), both fundamental and applied, leading eventually to commercialization through the company HTS-110 Ltd. His research has focused on the thermodynamics, magnetism, spectroscopy and electronic transport properties of superconductors.

Professor Tallon’s other research interests include nanotechnology, organic/inorganic hybrid materials and physics at high pressure. He has received many awards for his work, including the Rutherford Medal, the Dan Walls Medal for Physics and, with Professor Bob Buckley, the inaugural New Zealand Prime Minister’s Science Medal for commercialization of fundamental science. He is the 2015/16 IEEE Distinguished Lecturer in Applied Superconductivity. Dr Tallon has been a frequent Visiting Professor at Cambridge University and a Visiting Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge.

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The MacDiarmid Institute is supporting regional development with this series of free public talks, organised in association with the Hawke’s Bay Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Dinosaurs & space-shuttles

Dinosaurs and Space Shuttles

Dr Phil Manning
hosted by the Royal Society of New Zealand
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Napier venue: National Aquarium, Marine Parade

Register now (gold coin entry)
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In 1999, the mummified remains of a hadrosaur dinosaur were discovered in North Dakota, USA. Skin, muscle, tendons and other soft tissue that rarely survive fossilisation were preserved in this 67-million-year-old dinosaur, allowing scientists to estimate its muscle mass and ability to outrun its predators. Dr Phil Manningand his team obtained scanning equipment normally used on space shuttles at NASA to examine the remarkable fossil and they made some surprising discoveries about these ancient creatures.

This talk will take you on a whistle stop tour of the people, places and science associated with a very special fossil dinosaur called Dakota.

Dr Phil ManningPalaeontologist and writer Dr Phil Manning is Professor of Natural History at the University of Manchester and Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre of Ancient Life. Phil has appeared in and presented many television documentaries for the BBC, Discovery and History Channels, and is currently filming two new documentaries to be released later this year.

Phil plays an active role in Manchester Museum’s public outreach programme and has authored popular science books. He blogs atDinosaur CSI and tweets @DrPhilManning.

More information about Dinosaurs & space-shuttles on the Royal Society of New Zealand website

This tour is a partnership between the Royal Society of New Zealand and Museums Aotearoa.


Fossils: Rock Legends


Fossils: Rock Legends

A presentation by James Crampton of GNS, Lower Hutt, and School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Victoria University, Wellington

rocksPaleontology is the science of fossils.  Like all science, it is concerned with discovery and interpretation of the world (and universe) around us.  For paleontology, that discovery starts in the layers of rock exposed on mountainsides and in river beds, where we find fossils that have been preserved and hidden for millions to hundreds of millions of years.  Fossils are an incredible source of knowledge and understanding: from them we learn about the unique history of life on this planet, the wonderful coincidence of conditions that makes life possible, and the terrifying events that have destroyed life.  We also learn about climate change, sea-level rise, earthquakes, tsunamis, and the fossil fuels that sustain our society.  In this talk I will try to convey the excitement (and hazards!) of initial fossil discovery, and then give a tour through the sorts of scientific discoveries that follow.

Date: Tuesday 5 May 2015, 7.30pm

Venue: National Aquarium of New Zealand, Marine Parade Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

James will be in Hawkes Bay to support the HBBRSNZ education programme Geology Rocks! with thanks to the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Hawkes Bay Branch of the Royal Society, Hawkes Bay Regional Council and TAG Oil.

Please direct any enquiries to HBBranchRSNZ@gmail.com