Author Archives: Antony Steiner

Royal Society Te Apārangi videos

Courtesy of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, here are some videos of past lectures. Simply click on any of the images below to watch the lecture

‘What’s really inside your medicine cabinet?’ was a public lecture presented by Professor Dame Carol Robinson in Christchurch on Friday 16 March 2018

‘Climate change: stormy weather ahead’, a public lecture presented by Prof. Jim Skea in Wellington on 21 March 2018

‘Human longevity: myths and possibilities!’ is a talk presented by British gerontologist Professor Sarah Harper, founder of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, with introductions from Professor John Windsor FRSNZ.

Is New Zealand becoming a world leader in the bioengineering industry? 
Professor Merryn Tawhai, Director of MedTech CoRE, examines our capabilities in this field, and also shows the progress of her own research, modelling the human lung with its implications for healthcare.

The 2018 Rutherford Lecture ‘super tour’ was presented by the 2017 Rutherford Medal winner Professor Colin Wilson FRS FRSNZ who delivered his lecture at 22 locations across New Zealand.

‘Energy: what’s possible, what’s not’ with Professor Daniel Nocera (USA).

Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University, Professor Daniel Nocera presented this lecture at Royal Society Te Apārangi on 20 February 2018, thanks to The MacDiarmid Institute.

A pioneer in energy conversion, particularly on the generation of solar fuels, Daniel talks about developing his inventions, the Artificial Leaf, which harnesses solar power to split water molecules into hydrogen fuel, and subsequently, the Bionic Leaf, in the hope that these inventions can become affordable energy sources to those in poverty.

Videos of Royal Society lectures

Here are some of the lectures hosted by Hawke’s Bay Branch that have been videoed (with thanks to Wayne Dobson of EIT), and also videos of events hosted by other branches of the Royal Society.

Wellington Branch of the Royal Society, Hudson Lecture 2019
By Prof. Tony Ward, Victoria University of Wellington

It was our pleasure to present the Hudson Lecture, of the Wellington Branch of the Royal Society, on the 14th August. This year the lecture was by Prof. Tony Ward  “Theoretical illiteracy and therapeutic dead ends: lessons from forensic and correctional practice”. 
The classification and explanation of crime is important for research and practice. The categorization of problems associated with crime sets explanatory targets, underpins predictive models, and ideally provides clinicians with a rich description of offending groups and their various difficulties. Dynamic risk factors and offence type categories are the fundamental constructs in this work and structure forensic practice and guide rehabilitation policy throughout the world. However, in my view there are serious theoretical problems with these two constructs which adversely impact on their utility. Continued reliance on them is stifling the field and is rapidly leading to theoretical dead ends, fragmented practice, and disappointing rehabilitation outcomes. In this talk, I present new ways of formulating DRF and classifying crime and its related problems in the forensic and correctional domains. I demonstrate how these theoretical innovations can lead to better explanatory theories, and more targeted interventions.
Professor Tony Ward, School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington, has primarily researched forensic and correctional topics, prominently centered on violent and sexual offenders and rehabilitation. His theoretical contributions have resulted in substantial empirical research projects and innovations in treatment around the world. Tony is the developer of the “Good Lives Model” for the rehabilitation of offenders. He has taught clinical and forensic psychology at the universities of Melbourne, Canterbury, and Deakin and is a professorial fellow at the Universities of Birmingham, Kent, and Portsmouth. He has authored more than 400 academic publications. Tony was made a Fellow of Royal Society Te Apārangi in 2018.
Cheese, platinum and fundamental constants – what is the revision of the SI all about?
By Annette Koo, Measurement Standards Laboratory of New Zealand (MSL)
Worldwide agreement on units of measurement has brought us freedom to trade and innovate, as well as supported improved wellbeing and trust. This talk will describe why are we changing things now and what the revision of the International System of Units promises for the future. In particular, the redefinition of the kelvin away from the triple of point of water will be described, including the measurements contributing to the final value of Boltzmann’s constant and the ongoing implementation of the temperature scale.
Annette completed a physics PhD through Victoria University in 2005 and then spent 3 years in Melbourne as a postdoctoral fellow at CSIRO and then at Monash University doing research into catalysts for solar hydrogen generation. In 2008 she started at Measurement Standards Laboratory of New Zealand (MSL) as a research scientist, developing expertise in the measurement of light and human perception, including design of MSL’s robot-based goniospectrophotometer and piloting the CCPR comparison of spectral transmittance. Annette is now a Principal Research Scientist with MSL.

Tue 3 Dec 2019: Wine and Tributes: early knowledge-bearers and sharers in the sciences and humanities in Hawke’s Bay

Professor Kay Morris Matthews, Research Professor, EIT

Tuesday 3 December, 6pm

Room R101, School of Viticulture and Wine Science, EIT,
501 Gloucester Street, Taradale

Cost: $10 a head for drinks and nibbles; pay at the door (cash please). To secure your place, please email: secretary@hawkesbay.rsnzbranch.org.nz

From 1874, large numbers of Pākehā settlers travelled to the Athenaeum in Napier to attend monthly lectures of the Hawke’s Bay Philosophical Institute (HBPI). They came to listen, learn, take part in discussions and meet up with others interested in a range of subjects. In the main, those presenting their ideas and research were local.

Through and alongside the HBPI meetings emerged an inter-generational network of researchers, friends and supporters, both women and men. Drawing upon a range of primary and secondary sources collected during thirty years of research, the focus here is the behind-the scenes mentoring and the relationships between an inter-connected group who sought out and then shared new forms of knowledge. This celebratory tribute for the end of year features William Colenso, Henry Hill, William Spencer, Bessie Spencer, James Large, Amy Large, Frank Hutchinson, Herbert Guthrie-Smith, Georgina Guthrie-Smith and Barbara Guthrie-Smith.

Professor Kay Morris Matthews was raised in Hawke’s Bay, and has held academic positions at the University of Waikato, the University of Auckland and at Victoria University of Wellington. Kay is now Research Professor, Education, Humanities and Health Science, at EIT.Kay’s published research on William Colenso and Henry Hill has provided insights into their educational and research realms. Her current research, the biography of Anna Elizabeth Jerome Spencer, has led to a greater appreciation of the contributions of others involved in the HBPI, which from 1947, became the Royal Society of New Zealand Hawke’s Bay Branch.

Tuesday 19 November 2019: What is Cold Fusion?

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

Tuesday 19 November 2019 at 6.00pm

Dr Michael McKubre, Former Director of Energy Research Centre SRI International

Admission by gold coin donation

In 1989 two respected scientists, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, stunned the world with the announcement of possible evidence for nuclear level energetic effects in a distinctly non-nuclear experiment; electrochemistry. The importance of this claim and its potential for science and mankind was as obvious as its improbability.  

Dr Michael McKubre and many others around the world began to test the idea experimentally.  Some succeeded in generating evidence in support of the claim of “cold fusion”; many others attempted but did not encounter the nuclear realm, and the effect was labelled “irreproducible”. With the benefit of 30 years hindsight, scores of person-years effort and tens of millions of dollars spent (in Michael’s lab alone), it is clear that nuclear effects can and do take place in solids and liquids.

Cold Fusion, now more properly termed Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (CMNS), remains exquisitely difficult to control and demonstrate, but holds out the tantalising prospect of a flexible and cheap source of nuclear energy.

In his talk, Michael will explain the principles of, evidence for, the objections to and the potential of CMNS.

After under- and post-graduate studies in Washington DC and Wellington, Michael McKubre completed a PhD in Electrochemistry before heading first to the UK for post doctoral research and then to California to work at SRI, an energy research institute. Michael now lives in Napier, is still active in this field, and is one of our branch members.

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. 

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.