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

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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

“Too many immigrants?”

Unpacking the contribution of international migration to population growth in New Zealand in the second decade of the 21st century

Tuesday 31 January 2017 at 7.30pm

Holt’s Planetarium, NBHS, Chambers Street, Napier

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Richard Bedford
Emeritus Professor, University of Waikato and
Auckland University of Technology
President, Royal Society of New Zealand 

Professor Bedford writes: On 19 October 2016, Statistics New Zealand released a new series of National Population Projections through to 2068.  These projections are the first ever produced by Statistics New Zealand that I can recall in 45 years of population research that include a “high” scenario of over 7 million people in the country by the late 2060s.  They are also the first for a long time to make reference to reaching a population of 5 million by the early 2020s.

In this presentation I will examine the recent net migration gains and their impact on estimated population growth.  I will also comment on the recent changes to New Zealand’s residence policy and some possible implications these might have for both net migration gains as well as the contribution that international migration makes to overall population growth.  In the final section of the presentation I will examine more closely projections for the population of the Hawke’s Bay and the impacts that international migration is having on the numbers of temporary as well as long-term residents.

Entrance: gold coin donation

HB Branch Royal Society’s End of Year Event

Members’ Festive Gathering and talk

“Advances in Farming – the place of robotics”.

Wednesday 14 December 2016 from 6pm
Centre for Land and Water
21 Ruahapia Rd, Hastings

See a location Map here

dan-bloomerDan Bloomer will show us the Centre, explain its aims, and talk on Farm Robotics he has seen in Australia and Europe recently and his aspirations for robotics on farms here.

Please come and join us for some conviviality as well: 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.

Dan’s talk is open to the general public and will start about 7pm. Please RSVP to assist with catering.

For more information on the Centre and its work: http://www.claw.net.nzcentre-for-land-and-water

Little Bang, Big Bang – The Live Science Show starring Nanogirl – on Tuesday 13 December at 5pm and 7pm

Nanogirl showPresented by: Nanogirl Labs with Spark NZ and the University of Auckland Faculty of Engineering

Join Nanogirl (Dr. Michelle Dickinson MNZM) and Boris her trusty lab assistant for science as you have never seen it before. Explosions (lots of explosions), liquid nitrogen ice-cream, hovercraft, smoke cannons – science and engineering will come to life in the coolest ways possible, right before your eyes.

Nanogirl explains the science behind each experiment in a way that’s fun and easy to understand. We start with a small experiment to explain each idea (the Little Bang) – often with the help of a volunteer from the audience – then Nanogirl and Boris take the same principle and turn it up to BIG BANG scale!

For lots more detail on this spectacular show, click here

Please note that this is not an RSNZ event. For tickets, click here

The Cat Wars: Latest from the Front Lines of the Mogfight

Charles Daugherty
Emeritus Professor of Ecology, VUW

Date: Thursday 10 November at 7.30pm
Venue: National Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier
Admission: Gold coin donation

 charles-daugherty

Gareth Morgan ignited a storm of controversy when he proposed a strict regime of cat management as a key element in conserving New Zealand’s declining native wildlife. Four years on, the conservation landscape has evolved considerably. Charles – a wary cat owner himself – discusses latest developments in cat management in New Zealand and internationally, as well as implications of the Predator Free New Zealand movement for cat ownership and management.

Charles has recently retired to Hawke’s Bay after 34 years at Victoria University of Wellington. His research focused on the ecology, genetics and conservation of indigenous birds and reptiles, especially tuatara.   He worked with the Department of Conservation to rescue rare populations of tuatara and return them to their home islands, once they had been made safe by rat eradication.

Charles has been a trustee of Zealandia, and is now a Director of Zero Invasive Predators Ltd and a Trustee of Predator Free New Zealand.

The forensics of volcanic catastrophe – how to study large explosive eruptions

The Geoscience Society of New Zealand’s 2016 Hochstetter Lecture

Dr Colin Wilson, Professor of Volcanology at Victoria University of Wellington

Thursday 20 October at 7.30pm
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, corner Vautier and Dalton Streets, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

Erupting volcanoes are one of the great natural sights on the planet. There are, however, volcanoes on Earth which produce eruptions of such a size and violence (supereruptions at one extreme) that if you can see the volcano erupting you will die. Apart from being somewhat career-limiting, the chances of making useful observations are almost nil. Thus, what we understand about such eruptions and their parent volcanoes has to be gained from studying the products of past events, in a geological form of forensic science. In this talk, I outline the ways in which insights into large explosive eruptions can be gained from studying rocks in the field, then applying a variety of analytical techniques down to the microscopic scale. The information that is gained provides unprecedented details into eruptive processes, but suggests that we are still a long way from having a clear picture of how big eruptions and their parental volcanoes operate.

colin-wilson

Colin is a volcanologist who began his career in physical volcanology, but has since strayed into the black arts of petrology and geochemistry. His research is mostly concerned with studying the products of large-scale explosive silicic volcanism, particularly ignimbrites. Trained at Imperial College in the UK, Colin has a long history of work in New Zealand, and is currently Professor of Volcanology at Victoria University of Wellington.

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Big Steps Forward – Osteoporosis and bone disease

2016 Rutherford Lecture presented by Professor Ian Reid MD FRSNZ

6.00pm Thursday 6 October
Century Theatre, MTG, 9 Herschell StreetProf Ian Reid

Keeping bones strong over a lifetime is a longstanding challenge for medical health research and treatment. Distinguished Professor Ian Reid’s research career has lasted over 30 years and led to discoveries and new treatments that can improve bone health. In this talk, he will discuss the impact and treatment of bone diseases, including osteoporosis and Paget’s disease.

Ian Reid is a Distinguished Professor in Medicine at the University of Auckland, where he is Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. His research interests include calcium metabolism and osteoporosis. He is a past-president of the International Bone and Mineral Society and a recipient of the Bartter Award award from the American Society of Bone & Mineral Research and the Haddad Award from the European Calcified Tissue Society. His research is supported by the Health Research Council of New Zealand. In 2015 he was awarded the Liley Medal and the 2015 Rutherford Medal and together with his research group received the 2015 Prime Minister’s Science Prize.

This talk is free and open to the general public.
However, to ensure a seat, please register here

Rutherford sponsors