The forensics of volcanic catastrophe – how to study large explosive eruptions

The Geoscience Society of New Zealand’s 2016 Hochstetter Lecture

Dr Colin Wilson, Professor of Volcanology at Victoria University of Wellington

Thursday 20 October at 7.30pm
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, corner Vautier and Dalton Streets, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

Erupting volcanoes are one of the great natural sights on the planet. There are, however, volcanoes on Earth which produce eruptions of such a size and violence (supereruptions at one extreme) that if you can see the volcano erupting you will die. Apart from being somewhat career-limiting, the chances of making useful observations are almost nil. Thus, what we understand about such eruptions and their parent volcanoes has to be gained from studying the products of past events, in a geological form of forensic science. In this talk, I outline the ways in which insights into large explosive eruptions can be gained from studying rocks in the field, then applying a variety of analytical techniques down to the microscopic scale. The information that is gained provides unprecedented details into eruptive processes, but suggests that we are still a long way from having a clear picture of how big eruptions and their parental volcanoes operate.


Colin is a volcanologist who began his career in physical volcanology, but has since strayed into the black arts of petrology and geochemistry. His research is mostly concerned with studying the products of large-scale explosive silicic volcanism, particularly ignimbrites. Trained at Imperial College in the UK, Colin has a long history of work in New Zealand, and is currently Professor of Volcanology at Victoria University of Wellington.



Big Steps Forward – Osteoporosis and bone disease

2016 Rutherford Lecture presented by Professor Ian Reid MD FRSNZ

6.00pm Thursday 6 October
Century Theatre, MTG, 9 Herschell StreetProf Ian Reid

Keeping bones strong over a lifetime is a longstanding challenge for medical health research and treatment. Distinguished Professor Ian Reid’s research career has lasted over 30 years and led to discoveries and new treatments that can improve bone health. In this talk, he will discuss the impact and treatment of bone diseases, including osteoporosis and Paget’s disease.

Ian Reid is a Distinguished Professor in Medicine at the University of Auckland, where he is Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. His research interests include calcium metabolism and osteoporosis. He is a past-president of the International Bone and Mineral Society and a recipient of the Bartter Award award from the American Society of Bone & Mineral Research and the Haddad Award from the European Calcified Tissue Society. His research is supported by the Health Research Council of New Zealand. In 2015 he was awarded the Liley Medal and the 2015 Rutherford Medal and together with his research group received the 2015 Prime Minister’s Science Prize.

This talk is free and open to the general public.
However, to ensure a seat, please register here

Rutherford sponsors

Advancing animal breeding for NZ Agriculture

Presented by Dr Natalie Pickering, Focus Genetics

6.00pm Tuesday 13 September 2016

Lecture Theatre 2, EIT, 501 Gloucester St, Taradale

Natalie PickeringNatalie is an Animal Breeding Scientist (Terminal Sheep and Deer) at Focus Genetics in Napier. In her talk, she will outline current research in advancing animal breeding for NZ agriculture, including new methods e.g. genomic selection and traits e.g. methane emissions, lamb eating quality. She will describe how Focus Genetics is working with animal breeders to implement these into the sheep, beef and deer breeding programmes they manage.

Natalie comes from a farming background in the Wairarapa, and wanted a career which involved helping farmers in some way. After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours), majoring in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Otago, she worked for AgResearch, studying DNA samples to identify the genes responsible for characteristics such as resistance to internal parasite infections, presence of horns and blindness in sheep. This data can be used to aid breeding programmes.

Natalie then enrolled in a PhD in Animal Science joint between Massey University and AgResearch, where she investigated the genetics of flystrike, dagginess and associated traits in sheep. After completing her PhD, she was employed by AgResearch on an international two-year research project investigating if it is possible to breed for low methane emitting animals (the answer is yes!).

Since 2013 Natalie has been working for Focus Genetics, where she is a member of the team of scientists using genomic technology to help sheep and deer breeders (and consequently farmers) produce more efficient, consistent quality, greater value animals to enhance profitability of the red meat sector.

Natalie was a Finalist for the 2016 Ballance Agri-Nutrients Sheep Industry Emerging Talent Award.


A Materials History of the World

Wednesday 27 July, 6pm, National Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier

Dr Michelle Dickinson and Dr Franck Natali, MacDiarmid Institute

We define civilisation by the dominant material of the age: stone, bronze, iron. These days, cities rise to astounding heights with steel and reinforced concrete. We communicate between these cities at the speed of light, thanks to silicon – the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. And our consumer world is throw-away plastic.

Nanotechnologists now create new materials from the atoms up, often copying nature’s ability to self-assemble. Are we entering The Great Graphene Age? We are ourselves walking miracles of carbon construction.

Get the big picture from the nanotechnologists and materials scientists from the MacDiarmid Institute, a National Centre of Research Excellence

Nano girlDr Michelle Dickinson is an Associate Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute and Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland. Her research involves measuring the mechanical properties of materials from the nanoscale through to the macro scale. Michelle is well known as ‘Nanogirl’, for which she has won numerous awards for science communication, including the NZ Order of Merit



Dr Franck Natali is a Principal Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute and Senior Lecturer in Physics at Victoria University of Wellington. Franck’s research spans from semiconductor material science to the fabrication of devices such as light emitting diodes and transistors


MacDiarmidInstituteThe 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.