Author Archives: Antony Steiner

Hawke’s Bay Branch of the Royal Society’s End of Year Event

Caring for our coastal waters: the appliance of science

Tuesday 12 December 2017 at 6pm

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council
Cnr. Dalton and Vautier Streets, Napier

Under the chairmanship of team leader Stephen Swabey, three scientists from HBRC’s Coastal Team will present talks of 20 minutes each:

Anna Madarasz-Smith                The rise and fall of the Ahuriri Estuary
Shane Gilmer                                Jump in! Recreational water quality in Hawke’s Bay
Oliver Wade                                  Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Using new technologies in Science

Please then stay for some conviviality: we will lay on the nibbles, cake and a glass of something to celebrate the end of a very busy and successful year for the HB Branch of the Royal Society!

ABB visit – review

A group of 30 members were hosted by Scott Styles and Nick Elliott to a visit to the impressive- looking building on the grounds of Hawke’s Bay Airport. The interior is even more impressive. Over 130 people are employed there and the company’s products, automatic voltage controllers and power supply stabilisers are exported globally.

Scott gave us a “101” on electrical power supply stabilisation and later sent us the following links:

Why is my laptop on https://waitbutwhy.com/2014/03/why-is-my-laptop-on.html

Energy for dummies is linked inside the aforementioned document.

https://waitbutwhy.com/2014/03/energy-dummies.html

ABB Videos from the presentation.

       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQEsr8f1opU&t=137s

       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXutErdUoso&t=17s

Scott briefly touched on arc-flash with the tour group. This is quite a scary subject.

This is why you might see the local linesman getting completely kitted up in a ‘bomb-suit’ before operating switchgear https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P35HRYHFz7c

(people continuing to search or watch video’s on youtube autoplay should be warned that there are some gruesome injuries as a result of arc-flash.)

Scott thinks that we have a problem in society with poor energy literacy combined with extreme energy dependence.

This might be part of addressing this

http://www.theperfectcurrency.org/main-energy-currency/energy-currency

And last of all here is the sole remaining video (transferred from VHS) of the model solar car that Scott built with some friends in 7thform in 1993. Had he not entered this competition Scott doubts he would have become an electrical engineer.

https://www.facebook.com/scott.styles/videos/10151698169052831/

 

Visit to ABB Limited, Napier

Thursday 16 November 2017, 6pm

ABB, 111 Main North Rd, Hawke’s Bay Airport

30 people maximum, members only please

To secure your place, please send an email to:
hawkesbay.rsnz@gmail.com

ABB is a pioneering technology leader that is writing the future of industrial digitalization. For more than four decades, they have been at the forefront, innovating digitally connected and enabled industrial equipment and systems. Every day, they drive efficiency, safety and productivity in utilities, industry, transport and infrastructure globally. With a heritage spanning more than 130 years, ABB operates in more than 100 countries and employs around 132,000 people.

The ABB site in Napier designs and manufactures power conditioning products, which are used by customers worldwide, who need a reliable power supply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Their customers include:

  • semiconductor / automotive / textile industries
  • data centres / supercomputers
  • shore-to-ship / marine / oil & gas industries
  • plastics / cable extrusion / pharmaceutical manufacturers.

We will be hosted by Nick Elliott, R&D Manager and Scott Styles, Principal Engineer, for a presentation on the business, including latest developments, and a factory tour.

Please note dress code:

  • flat (i.e. no heels), close fitting (i.e. not loose fitting ballet-type), fully closed-in shoes
  • trousers (shorts are not acceptable).

ABB will provide safety glasses and hearing protection.

 

http://new.abb.com/about

Limestone landscapes: How quickly does that mountain dissolve?

6.00pm on Thursday 26 October 2017

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, cnr. Vautier & Dalton Streets, Napier

Dr Stephen Swabey, Manager, Environmental Science, HBRC

Speleology is one of Stephen Swabey’s many passions, and in this talk he will share with us his enthusiasm with an illustrated talk about limestone cave systems in Australia, where Stephen lived and worked for five years before coming to New Zealand.

Stephen graduated from Oxford University with an MA in Geography, and the Open University with a PhD in Paleoclimate change, geochemistry and caves.

At HBRC he manages a team of 32 scientists, with 5 team leaders coordinating work across surface water and groundwater hydrology, coastal science, freshwater ecology, air quality, climate and climate change, land science and environmental monitoring.

Biotechnology and genetic modification 40 years on and the rise of gene editing

Wednesday 11 October at 6.00pm

National Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier

(Entry by gold coin donation)

Dr Elspeth MacRae, General Manager Manufacturing & Bloproducts, Scion

 

People have been improving plants and animals for many centuries. Most of the foods we eat and drink have been changed (domesticated) by humans. For many centuries this was done by selecting naturally occurring changes (or mutations) and using them to breed improved plants or animals – a very slow process. More recently we have been able to use biotechnology to make the same sort of changes in a much faster and more predictable way.

This talk will describe these Genetic Modification technologies, including the recent developments in gene editing (CRISPR-cas9). Examples of improved products will be highlighted, and the potential of gene editing to revolutionise food production will be discussed.

Dr Elspeth MacRae is the General Manager Manufacturing & Bioproducts at Scion in Rotorua. She is a member of the management group for the 2014 New Zealand National Science Challenge in Science and Technology for Industry, and leads the design, materials and manufacturing portfolio.

Scion is a Crown Research Institute that specialises in research, science and technology development for the forestry, wood product, wood-derived materials, and other biomaterial sectors.

Tectonics and genetics in topographic evolution

14 September 2017 at 7.30pm

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, corner of Dalton and Vautier Streets, Napier


Dave Craw

Professor, Geology Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

2017 Hochstetter Lecture

The landscape of New Zealand is spectacular in its expression of the active tectonic processes that occur along the Pacific-Australian plate boundary. However, it is difficult to determine the geological history of development of the onshore topography because previous configurations in the evolution of that topography have been eroded.

Some of the native fauna carry a biological memory of the topographic environments in which they evolved, in their genetic makeup (DNA). Native freshwater fish are the most useful for this type of study. In particular, the genus Galaxias has numerous freshwater-limited species and populations that have been isolated by changes in the river drainage pattern.

The South Island vividly displays the resultant biological diversity and co-evolution of topography and fish. The genetic variations of the fish can be used to document the nature and timing of river capture events and mountain range growth, especially since the Plio-Pleistocene but with some extensions into the Miocene. Hence, these biological tools provide some new insights into the development of the onshore landscape since the submergence or near- submergence of the NZ landmass in the Oligocene. The biological memory approach to understanding topographic evolution could be extended to all endemic NZ fauna and flora for which suitable distribution and genetic data are available.

Dave Craw is Professor of Economic Geology at the University of Otago where he has been on staff for 35 years. His main research interests are gold: exploration, mining and associated environmental issues, both placer and hard-rock. His particular interests in tectonic evolution of mountains and the gold within them led him to work on the biological effects of the rise of mountain ranges, the topic of the Hochstetter lecture.

Nanoscientists visit Hawke’s Bay

In August 2017, the Branch hosted a lecture by three nanoscientists from the MacDiarmid Institute, two of whom were available to visit a school in the afternoon before their lecture. Dr Catherine Whitby, a Senior Lecturer in  Chemistry at  Massey University, spoke to Year 11 and 13 students at Karamu High. Dr Gemma Cotton, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Otago, spoke to Year 9 and 10 students at Napier Girls High. They outlined what inspired them to be a scientist, what influenced their journey through university, how they chose their area of expertise, the research they are currently doing and its potential benefits. One of the teachers commented: “I think one of the greatest benefits to students is it brings real science to life for them.” Several teachers and students also attended the evening lecture at the National Aquarium, where the audience exceeded 60.

 

Pest-free pipfruit

The past, present and future of integrated pest management in New Zealand fruit crops (July 2017)

Dr Jim Walker, Scientist in the Pipfruit & Winegrape Entomology team at Plant & Food Research delivered an excellent lecture at the Havelock North Function Centre to mark 150 years of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Pests and subsequently, the use of pesticide to deal with pests, has long been a problem for the New Zealand Pip Fruit industry, especially when it sought to gain access into new, high-value export markets. However, since the mid 1990s, the work carried out by Dr Jim Walker and his team has contributed to more than a 90 per cent reduction in insecticide use (kg/ha) by local apple growers. This includes the introduction of new natural enemies through to the development of selective pest management and use of semio-chemicals (pheromones) to support greater use of biological control in apple orchards. The development and implementation of these innovative pest control tactics are now central to today’s pest management systems.

Dr Jim Walker, entomologist and Principal Scientist with Plant and Food Research, talks about this research as well as the future sustainability and biosecurity threats facing the apple industry.

About the speaker:

Plant & Food Research scientist Dr Jim Walker leads a team of researchers focused on developing innovative tools and techniques for managing pests affecting the New Zealand horticultural industry.

During his 30 year career, he has been involved in the development and introduction of the Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) programme in the New Zealand pipfruit sector. The IFP programme has resulted in the sector adopting pest monitoring, pest prediction models and alternative control methods, enabling apple growers to substantially reduce their use of pesticides.

More recently Dr Walker has been involved with development of the sector’s ‘Apple Futures’ programme, focused on meeting the demand from consumers for high quality, residue-free fruit. He has also provided crucial guidance for the application of IFP to other sectors including wine grapes, summerfruit, citrus and onions.

Hear a Radio Kidnappers interview with Jim Walker here.