Category Archives: Past Events

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.

Thursday 5 Mar 2020: Sea Week 2020 – Precision Seafood Harvesting

Thursday 5 March 2020 at 6:00pm

National Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier

Dr Suzy Black, Senior Scientist/Team Leader

Plant & Food Research

Admission by gold coin donation

Evolution of fish harvesting technology has focussed on minimising cost and optimising extraction selectivity, i.e. minimising unwanted catch. Because of the sustainable limits of the fishery, our fishing industry is now at the point where increased value can only come from maximising fish utilisation. To achieve this we must be increasingly sophisticated about how we manage and harvest our limited resources. Fishing technology has evolved to the point where we are able to control many aspects of the harvesting process; but where to apply the control to maximise fish value?
From our research in the 1990s on King salmon (a model species for understanding the effects of harvesting on post-harvest quality), we developed a new fish-centric, quality-focussed, rested harvesting process. We applied the same approach to NZ’s largest wild fishery (hoki).
Development of a Modular Harvesting System (MHS,  which replaces the conventional gear of a trawl), focussed on delivering low-damage, low-fatigue capture of wild fish and the unharmed escape and release of unwanted catch. Commercialisation of this technology has been at the centre of the Primary Growth Partnership-funded Precision Seafood Harvesting (PSH) programme.
This presentation will look at the background, underlying principles and development of the technology, and how fish-focussed industrial fishing technology is not only feasible, but great business.
Dr. Suzy Black is a Senior Scientist/Team Leader for PFR’s Seafood Production Group in Nelson. She has a PhD in Fish Physiology from the University of Canterbury, and over 20 years’ experience in development and industrial implementation of finfish capture, handling and postharvest storage technologies.

Wed 19 Feb 2020:1931 Earthquake Commemorative Lecture Unlocking the secrets of the Hikurangi subduction zone

Wednesday 19 February 2020 at 5:30pm

National Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier

Dr Laura Wallace, Geophysicist, GNS Science

Admission by gold coin donation

Have you ever wondered about that sleeping giant that lies beneath Hawke’s Bay, known as the Hikurangi subduction zone? Dr Laura Wallace will discuss the results of scientific studies that reveal what the subduction zone is currently up to, include the latest on the “slow-motion earthquakes” that occur regularly in the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne regions, and what we have learned about them by placing monitoring instruments on the seafloor. Laura will also assess the earthquake and tsunami potential of the Hikurangi subduction zone, and describe a number of recent international and New Zealand-led missions aimed at better understanding our sleeping giant.

Dr Laura Wallace is a geophysicist at GNS Science in Lower Hutt, with a joint position at the University of Texas. Much of her scientific career has focused on investigating New Zealand’s largest fault, the Hikurangi subduction zone. She is currently leading a multi-national effort to better understand the hazards it poses.

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:

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. 

Mon 14 Oct 2019: Beatrice Hill Tinsley 2019 Lecture tour

Monday 14 October 2019 at 6pm

EIT Taradale
Babak Tafreshi

The World at Night
Bridging science, art and culture by connecting the Earth & sky in photography. Babak Tafreshi spent the past two decades photographing surreal scenes of night sky in all continents, an adventurous journey to the world at night where the wonders of Earth & sky merge in photography.

This talks also presents The World at Night (TWAN) international program that involves many of the world’s best nightscape photographers documenting the last remaining starry skies on the planet to increase public awareness on values of natural night environment for all species. TWAN is also a bridge between art, humanity, and science, with a unique message. The eternally peaceful sky looks the same above symbols of all nations and regions, attesting to the unified nature of Earth and mankind. One People, One Sky!

TWAN produce and present photographs and time-lapse videos of the world’s landmarks against the celestial attractions. The familiar context of the images, which represent naked eye views, add a new tool to efforts to popularize astronomy alongside images and science results from large telescopes. The photos have been used by astronomy educators world-wide as they educate viewers on many fundamental aspects of practical astronomy such as the natural look of sky, constellations, celestial motions, and sky events. With the images taken at important cultural sites around the world, the connection between our many cultures and the night sky through history is emphasized, particularly in images that include ancient sites of astronomical importance.

Babak A. Tafreshi is a photojournalist and science communicator. The National Geographic night sky photographer, merging art and science, he is also the founder and director of The World At Night program, a board member of Astronomers Without Borders organization, a contributing photographer to Sky&Telescope magazine and the European Southern Observatory. Born in 1978 in Tehran, Babak lives in Boston, but he is often on the move and could be anywhere, from the heart of Sahara to the Himalayas or Antarctica. He received the 2009 Lennart Nilsson Award, the world’s most recognized award at the time for scientific imaging, for his global contribution to night sky photography.

Mon 21 Oct 2019: Two topics from Plant and Food Research Measuring Sustainability and CRISPR Crops

Monday 21 October 2019 at 6pm

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 1

Dr Craig Anderson and Dr Revel Drummond

Admission by Gold coin donation

Craig Anderson will attempt to illustrate the ‘sustainability’ of current and future food production through the lens of ‘energy-returnon-investment’ (EROI).

He believes that EROI can more rationally frame the impact technological transformations could have and make some assumptions about the trajectory of our future with respect to our environment.

Revel Drummond will explain what CRISPR is, and is not, and how it could help protect NZ crops. As CRISPR modifies a plant’s DNA, it is currently caught by the blanket ban on genetic modification in this country. Revel discusses whether this is appropriate, and whether NZ risks missing out on this technological revolution.

Tue 10 Sept 2019: Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry: the science

Tuesday 10 September 2019 at 6pm

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 1

Dr Brent Gilpin

Institute of Environmental Science and Research

In August 2016, the Havelock North water supply became contaminated with the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni. As a result, thousands became ill, and the deaths of four people were directly linked to the outbreak.

This is not only the largest campylobacteriosis outbreak in the world, but arguably it is also the most comprehensively studied. Unravelling the causes of the outbreak required the combined application of multiple scientific disciplines. This public lecture will describe the outbreak investigation, the causes of the outbreak, and how this outbreak is transforming the management of drinking water, not only in New Zealand, but worldwide.

Dr Brent Gilpin is Science Leader at the Institute of Environmental Science & Research. He is a molecular microbiologist whose primary research interests include the application of genetic analysis techniques to understanding foodborne and waterborne outbreaks and disease, microbial water quality, faecal source tracking, and zoonoses (diseases or infections that can be transmitted from animals to humans). Campylobacter from the Havelock North water supply were isolated in his laboratory from water samples taken on 12 August 2016. Since then the outbreak and its consequences has been a regular feature in his life.

Mon 12 Aug 2019: MacDiarmid Lecture on Innovations for Sustainability

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 1 at 6 pm

By Professor Shane Telfer and Dr Carla Meledandri
The theme of the lecture is along the lines of innovation for sustainability and New Zealand science’s role in offering a greener future for our planet, in areas such as:
* Zero carbon technologies, renewables, carbon capture and more – including solar cells, new types of batteries, negative emission technologies.
* Materials efficiency (replacing rare materials with earth-abundant elements e.g. in your smartphone)