Ten things you didn’t know about climate change…

6pm Wednesday 6 July 2016
Century Theatre, MTG, 9 Herschell Street, Napier

Please register free by clicking here

Climate change is already redefining coastlines and the weather, both here in New Zealand and around the world. But will it affect me and what can I do about it? Tim Naish and James Renwick will give their take on this biggest of issues – from the very local to the global.

Professor Tim NaishTim Naish

Tim is Director of the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington, where he and his team use rock and ice cores as a time machine to look at how the Antarctica ice sheets affected global sea-level in past warmer periods and what this means for our future.


Professor James Renwick


James is a Professor of Physical Geography at Victoria
University of Wellington where he indulges his fascination for all aspects of the climate system, from the tropics to the poles, and from thousands of years in the past to hundreds of years into the future.


Cape to City

Tuesday 21 June at Holt’s Planetarium, NBHS, Chambers Street, Napier at 7.30 pm (immediately following our AGM)

Andrea Byrom of Landcare Research, and currently Director of the National Science Challenge for NZ’s Biological Heritage will talk to us about a large collaborative project in Hawke’s Bay, Cape to City, which is led by the Hawkes Bay Regional Council and the Department of Conservation. She will also speak about how the Cape to City project can be an exemplar for others around New Zealand, and how it links to the Biological Heritage Science Challenge.

Cape to City logoAndrea byrom

Cape to City

Cape to City is about native species thriving where we live, work and play. It will achieve this vision through transformational change in pest management, research, education and how our community engage in ecological restoration initiatives within the Hawke’s Bay. It is a collaborative landscape scale project, covering 26,000ha of land on the coast of Cape Kidnappers, Ocean Beach and back towards Havelock North. The project’s footprint has a variety of land uses including farming, viticulture and nature experiences.

For more information click here

Exploring Pluto: On the ground, in the air, and out in space

Saturday 9 July 2016 at 7pm

Holt’s Planetarium, NBHS, Chambers Street, Napier

Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand’s Beatrice Hill Tinsley 2016 Lecture

Presented by Dr Michael Person, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PlutoMichael Person

Admission by gold coin donation, on a first come, first seated basis

Dr. Michael Person of MIT will discuss the history of Pluto science starting with the discovery of Pluto, through the discovery and characterization of its atmosphere and moons, to provide context to the discoveries of 2015. Focusing on his own experiences aboard the SOFIA aircraft, and the New Horizons flyby, he will discuss the explosion of Pluto knowledge over the last year, and its context in our understanding of the outer solar system.

Dr. Michael Person is a Research Astronomer in MIT’s Planetary Astronomy Laboratory, and Director of MIT’s George R. Wallace Astrophysical Observatory. He specializes in the observational techniques needed to observe occultations, eclipses, and transits, including high-precision astrometry, and high-time-resolution photometry. His science interests include identifying and characterizing the atmospheres, compositions, and figures of distant solar-system bodies, particularly Triton, Pluto, and Kuiper Belt Objects. Dr. Person received his education at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA) where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, as well as Masters and Doctoral degrees from the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.  He trained in observational techniques and occultation science under the mentorship of the late Prof. James Elliot, one of the pioneers of modern occultation astronomy. Dr. Person’s current research focuses on the atmospheres of Pluto and Triton, and the use of the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) observatory and other assets to identify and monitor their changes.

The year 2015 was truly the “Year of Pluto”. From the arrival of the historic New Horizons mission to the numerous dedicated Earth-based campaigns to examine Pluto near the flyby epoch, we potentially learned more about Pluto in 2015 than in all of the years since its discovery. During the weeks preceding the New Horizons flyby, a dedicated observation campaign was undertaken in New Zealand and parts of Australia to study Pluto’s atmosphere using the technique of stellar occultation, available only when Pluto passes directly in front of a star. A key component of this campaign was the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a converted 747 with a 2.5-m telescope, which was based out of Christchurch for these events.

HB Astronomical SocietyRASNZ logo


The Science of Wine – Theory and Practice

Science of wine

Tuesday 19 July 2016 at 5.30 pm

Wine Sensory laboratory, E block (Winery and Labs building), EIT, 501 Gloucester Street, Taradale, Napier

Admission by ticket; members will receive an invitation by email

This evening will be a wonderful opportunity to find out about some of the leading research being undertaken at EIT in support of one of Hawke’s Bay’s most important industries.

‘The effect of an anti-transpirant on grape physiology and wine quality including the production of lower alcohol wine’

An evaluation (tasting) of trial wine will conclude this presentation.

Presenters: Dr Petra King and Ass. Prof. Dr Carmo Saunders – Vasconcelos.

‘The effect of a no-plunging regime on phenolic extraction in red wine’, again followed by evaluation of trial wines

Presenter: Rod Chittenden

Simple finger food will accompany the tastings

Those who wish to can afterwards visit the EIT labs and winery


Possible origins of antibiotic resistance: A biochemistry perspective

2016 Hamilton Lecture presented by Dr Valerie Soo

6.00pm Wednesday 17 August

Lecture Theatre 2, EIT, 501 Gloucester St, Taradale

Enzymes are the protein molecules that accelerate chemical reactions in all types of cells. Most enzymes are designed for specific functions, for example certain enzymes will break down antibiotics resulting in antibiotic resistance. This specialisation suggests a lack of flexibility but we know that enzymes do develop novel functions, so how does this happen? If enzymes are designed for one role, how do they develop novel functions?

Whilst doing her PhD, Valerie Soo discovered that many enzymes in the laboratory bacterium, Escherichia coli, have weak secondary functions. When placed in environments where toxins
or antibiotics were present, these secondary functions enabled the bacteria to grow in almost one third of these environments. The unexpected development of antibiotic resistance shows the possible role of weak secondary functions and how they help to evolve new functions in proteins.

Valerie SooDr Valerie Soo hails from Malaysia, and completed her undergraduate degree at Monash University Malaysia. Fascinated by molecular evolution, she undertook her PhD at Massey University and graduated in 2013. Valerie’s doctoral research on ‘promiscuous proteins’ changed the way that many of us think about enzyme evolution and her paper has been highly cited since its publication in 2011. Valerie is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Pennsylvania State University, USA but will move to London, UK in mid-2016.

rsnz_logo_1This lecture is kindly sponsored by the Royal Society of New Zealand