Category Archives: Past Events

Mental Travels in Space and Time

6.00pm Thursday 15 June 2017
Ballroom, Napier Conference Centre, Marine Parade

2017 Rutherford Lecture presented by Professor Michael Corballis
Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Auckland

We have a remarkable capacity to mentally relive past events, imagine future ones, and even invent fictitious ones. This mental escape from the present allows us to plan our futures, deliberate on the past, and find inspiration in imagined scenarios. We can also transport ourselves into the minds of others, enhancing empathy and social understanding. Sometimes, our minds elude conscious control and wander in unpredictable ways, providing a potential source of creativity. Professor Michael Corballis will discuss the neuroscience and evolution of our mental excursions, and their implications for innovation, storytelling, and even language itself.

Professor Corballis was awarded the Rutherford Medal in 2016 for foundational research on the nature and evolution of the human mind, including cerebral asymmetries, handedness, mental imagery, language, and mental time travel.

Michael’s latest book is “The Truth about Language: What it is and Where it came from”.

FREE PUBLIC EVENT – Guarantee your seat by registering here

 

Explore Matariki at the Planetarium

Gary Sparks, Director of Holt Planetarium and President of HB Astronomical Society

Thursday 1 June 2017 at 7.30pm
Holt Planetarium, NBHS, Chambers Street, Napier
Admission by gold coin donation;  50 people maximum
THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED OUT – SORRY

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

Throughout history, the changing yet cyclical patterns of stars in the night sky have been used to record the passage of time. Cultures around the world also used the patterns of stars to act as a library of sorts to help pass along myths and legends. For ocean going groups like the Polynesians, navigation stars were critical for their survival as they traversed the southern ocean.

Using our Zeiss ZKP-1planetarium projector, I will show you how the Polynesian cultures perceived the end of one year and the beginning of the next, the time of Matariki.

Matariki in the night sky. Image courtesy of pbkwee, flickr.com

This meeting will take place after the AGM of the HB Branch of the Royal Society which starts at 7.00pm.

Why are Bees so Awesome?

Tuesday 23 May 2017 at 6.00pm
Lecture Theatre 2, EIT, Gloucester Street, Taradale
Admission by gold coin donationProfessor Peter Dearden
Director of Genetics, Biochemistry Department, University of Otago

Honeybees are a vital part of our agricultural production, but also a remarkable example of the product of evolution. Bees have their own social system, symbolic language, produce different castes and build extravagant structures. Bees are also under threat from insecticides, pests and diseases.

In this talk Peter will discuss both his fundamental research into how the honeybee social system evolved, but also what we need to do to save the honeybees of the world.  He might even tell how honeybees might save us!

In 2014, Peter was the recipient of the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Callaghan medal for science communication.

Our thanks to the University of Otago for their support.

Science Technology Camp 15-18 May 2017

Year 7 & 8 Science and Technology Camp, 15 to 18 May 2017, Hawke’s Bay

The Hawke’s Bay Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand has, once again, received funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund, to run a Science and Technology Camp for Year 7 and 8 students and their teachers, during Primary Science Week in May 2017.

Over the four days, approximately 170 Year 7 and 8 students, accompanied by teachers and parents, from 11 schools in Napier, Hastings and Central Hawke’s Bay, will attend one or two-day hands-on workshops on a variety of science and technology subjects, related to the world around them. They will return to school with a better understanding of maths, science and technology, and its relevance to their everyday lives.

The following three workshops will be on offer:

Geology workshop (2 days)

Venue: National Aquarium of New Zealand

Run by: Julian Thomson from GNS Science, assisted by Carol Larson from the Aquarium, and Kate Boersen from East Coast LAB.

Topic: The students will spend the first day at the Aquarium, investigating the geology of New Zealand and Hawke’s Bay, and its consequences. The students will use resources from all three organisations, to study sedimentary rocks and fossils, and volcanic rocks and faults / earthquakes. On the second day they will take a field trip to a local site with varied geology, and use their new knowledge in inquiry-style investigations.

Bridge Science workshop (1 day)

Run by: Murray Gosling, a teacher at Hastings Intermediate School, who was on the 2015 Science Teaching Leadership Programme, assisted by land surveyors and bridge engineers from local companies.

Topic: The students will learn about land surveying and how it is involved in bridge design, use a theodolite to survey a location for a hypothetical bridge, visit a bridge, investigate why bridges are not all the same design, and how their design and construction is based on maths and science. They will design, build and test their own bridges. Land surveyors and bridge engineers from local companies will be involved in the workshop.

Horticultural science workshop (1 day)

Venue: Plant & Food Research, Crosses Road, Havelock North

Run by: Scientists from Plant & Food Research, including Dr Jeff Reid, for many years Chief Judge of the Hawke’s Bay Science & Technology Fair, assisted by Sarah Hope, a teacher from Hastings Intermediate School, who worked at Plant & Food Research last year whilst on the 2016 Science Teaching Leadership Programme.

Topics: The workshop will comprise 3 activities, which will introduce students to some of the maths and science that underpins horticulture in Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand. The 3 groups will rotate around the 3 activities during the day. They will:

  • compare soil health in different locations in the orchard;
  • conduct physical, chemical and sensory analysis of a variety of apples which are involved in the pipfruit breeding programme;
  • identify pests and diseases which affect commercial crops in New Zealand.

We thank the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for their support

http://www.curiousminds.nz/

Archaeology in Hawke’s Bay – five different perspectives

Wednesday 5 April 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

MTG, Herschell Street, Napier

Entrance by Gold Coin donation

Six local experts will talk about aspects of Archaeology in the context of Hawke’s Bay

  • From ‘The File’ to ‘ArchSite’

    Elizabeth Pishief

  • Provenance Matters

    Charles Ropitini

  • Working with our Ancestors

    Stella August and Wikitoria Moore

  • Archaeology … It’s more than just an Act

    Christine Barnett

  • Ahuriri ‘Re-discovered’: A tale of flood, fire & pestilence…

    Gaylynne Carter

 For more information on these topics and the speakers, please click here:

Archaeology Week programme

As part of New Zealand Archaeology week

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