Monthly Archives: February 2017

Left or Right in Nature, or why is the Universe left-handed?

Thursday 30 March 2017 at 7.00pm
Holt’s Planetarium, NBHS, Chambers Street, Napier
Admission by gold coin donation

Schwerdtfeger_P_seated_website

Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger
Director of the Centre for Theoretical Chemistry and Physics
Massey University in Auckland

Single-handedness is present in everything, down to the tiniest molecule. This was startling to 20th Century scientists, who until then presumed the world was symmetrical. We now know right-handed sugars and left-handed amino acids completely dominate the biochemistry of living organisms.
But if our universe is left-handed, why are humans predominantly right-handed? Even though our hearts are on the left? What is responsible for this leaning toward one side or the other?
Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger and scientists from around the world have devoted years of research to proving or disproving over 50 hypotheses to explain it.
In this lecture he aims to fascinate and enlighten a general audience.

This is but one of many areas of Professor Schwerdtfeger’s wide ranging interests. He is a world-leading authority in quantum chemistry and physics, working on fundamental aspects of chemical and physical phenomena in atoms, molecules and condensed matter. His approach to science is truly interdisciplinary, ranging from chemistry to physics, computer science and mathematics.

He is Acting Head of Institute of the New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study and has published more than 290 papers in international journals and books and in 2014 won the Royal Society of New Zealand’s most prestigious science award, the Rutherford Medal, which recognises the combination of eminent research and the advancement of public awareness and understanding of science.

Professor Schwerdtfeger’s visit to Hawke’s Bay is supported by

 

Lecture for Sea Week 2017

“Healthy Seas: Drugs from the Sea, Biodiversity
and Conservation – a New Zealand Story”

Tuesday 28 February 2017, 7.30pm

National Aquarium of New Zealand, Marine Parade Napier

Admission by gold coin donation

Chris Battershill

 

Professor Chris Battershill, Chair Coastal Science
University of Waikato

The story of drug discovery from marine sources is not well known. The important and successful role of New Zealand science coupled with our marine biodiversity, is even less well understood. By far the most common source of biomedicinal leads comes from nature and until recently much of this has been from plants and terrestrial organisms. Aspirin from Willow being one of the most famous discoveries. In the anti-cancer drug space however, extracts from marine organisms, like sponges, produce two orders of magnitude more leads than terrestrial species.

This presentation will showcase a number of successful New Zealand drug and drug lead compounds derived from marine sources. It will explain why these leads work, and demonstrate the enormous and urgent importance of conserving our marine biodiversity for future generations.

Chris Battershill became the inaugural Professor and Chair of Coastal Science with the University of Waikato, in January 2011. Prior to that, he was Leader of the Marine Resources and Biodiversity Teams at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) for twelve years, focusing on conservation, new species aquaculture and biodiscovery.

He completed his PhD at Auckland University in 1986 then undertook a 3 year Research Fellowship funded through the National Cancer Institute (US) based at the University of Canterbury, where he led the biological program associated discovery of anti-cancer active chemicals from the sea. He did Post Doctoral work in Australia and then worked at DoC and NIWA for 11 years focusing on sustainability of marine resource use, again building capacity in research associated with drug discovery from marine sources

 

1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake Commemorative Lecture

Geoffroy Lamarche

Dr Geoffroy Lamarche PhD ONM
Principal Scientist in marine geology and geophysics with NIWA in Wellington

Wednesday 15 February 2017 at 5.30pm

National Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier

Admission by gold coin donation

Dr Lamarche will speak on the topic of marine sciences and their relevance to understanding natural hazards in Hawke’s Bay, in particular with regard to offshore earthquakes, tsunamis and submarine landslides.

Geoffroy obtained a PhD in geology and geophysics from the university of Grenoble in 1987. He has since focussed his research on the geological processes that affect the ocean floor around New Zealand and in the South West Pacific region, with the aim to improve the understanding of natural geological hazards and develop predictive geophysical methods to map submarine substrate and habitats. He has led many oceanographic voyages and international research projects with France, the UK, Australia and the USA.

Presented in conjunction with Hawke’s Bay French Association