Monday 7 August: MacDiarmid Institute Regional Lecture: Good news for a change: Sustainable tech in Aotearoa NZ and the science behind it

Professor Chris Bumby, Principal Investigator at the MacDiarmid Institute

Dr Nathaniel Davis, an Associate Investigator at the MacDiarmid Institute

Tahlia Crabtree, Outreach Coordinator at Robinson Research Institute

Date: Monday 7 August 2023 at 6.00pm

Venue: Napier Sailing Club, 63 West Quay, Ahuriri, Napier

Image from MacDiarmid

The MacDiarmid Institute is a network of leading researchers from around the country united in a common goal: to create and explore innovative, sustainable materials that will improve the lives of people in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the word. This talk will present an optimistic take on the sustainability crisis facing the world today. Come and hear about what technology is being developed and utilised right now, in Aotearoa New Zealand, to address sustainability challenges.

Chris Bumby is a Principal Investigator at the MacDiarmid Institute, and a Principal Scientist at the Robinson Research Institute of Victoria University of Wellington, where he works on a range of commercial and industry-facing applied research projects, spanning a diverse range of materials engineering topics, including hydrogen steelmaking, ceramic semiconductors and superconducting machines.

Nathaniel (Nate) Davis is an Associate Investigator at the MacDiarmid Institute, a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, and a Rutherford Discovery Fellow. Nate’s background is in chemistry and physics within the field of optoelectronics, specifically the creation of materials allowing light and electronic energy to be interchanged.

Tahlia Crabtree is a dedicated Outreach Coordinator at Robinson Research Institute, where she passionately organizes and facilitates engaging activities and events to inspire and educate students about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). With her background as a qualified meteorologist, Tahlia previously served as a weather forecaster, bringing her expertise and keen focus on effectively communicating weather information to the public. Her commitment to promoting STEM education and her experience in meteorology make her a valuable asset in encouraging the next generation of young minds to explore the wonders of science and technology.

Tuesday 25 July: Rebuilding Hawke’s Bay’s stopbanks

Jon Kingsford, Project Manager, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

Date: Tuesday 25 July 2023 at 6.00pm

Venue: Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Dalton Street, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

Cyclone Gabrielle wreaked havoc on Hawke’s Bay as rivers overcame flood protection, leaving many stopbanks in need of urgent repair. This task fell to a rapid rebuild team at HBRC, led by Jon Kingsford. His talk will cover how the team came about, how it was structured to enable rapid scaling up of resource and about the challenges encountered during the repairs, using specific sites as examples. Then looking forward, Jon will describe planned future work and river management challenges more generally.

Jon Kingsford is a civil engineer and Project Manager, managing a small team of project managers delivering infrastructure construction work relating to stormwater and flood protection across the Hawke’s Bay. Jon is an outdoor enthusiast, feeling most at home in the ocean (on a surfboard) or in the mountains and native forests.

Tuesday 20 June 2023: The 2021 New Zealand Rutherford Medal Lecture

More Home Truths

The impact of housing research on health policy

Professor Howden-Chapman, Otago University and Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand

Date: 6pm, Tuesday, 20 June, 2023

Venue: Napier War Memorial Conference Centre, 48 Marine Parade Napier

Organiser: Royal Society Te Apārangi

Reserve your place: Click Here.

Stethoscope and Model House on Gradated Background with Selective Focus. image sources: iStock

Continuing her quest for healthy homes and housing affordability, Distinguished Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman FRSNZ will deliver the prestigious Rutherford Lecture.
Under Professor Howden-Chapman’s inspirational leadership, He Kāinga Oranga’s research has shown how straightforward housing improvements to cold, damp and unsafe conditions can significantly reduce rates of infectious, respiratory and cardiovascular disease and deaths, particularly for children and older people.

This research and its studies have influenced public policy innovation and implementation, and been rated as outstanding examples of housing intervention research internationally, winning recognition in the British medical Journal and being profiled by the British Medical Council as an outstanding example of how to evaluate complex interventions.
In this lecture, Professor Howden-Chapman focuses on the priorities for housing at a time of cost-of-living pressure and stretched markets, and recent weather events in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman, sesquicentennial distinguished professor of public health at the University of Otago, Wellington, is co-director of He Kāinga Oranga/ Housing and Health Research Programme, Director of the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities and the WHO Collaborating Centre on Housing and Wellbeing. She conducts randomised community housing trials in partnership with local communities, which have had a major influence on housing, urban policy and health. Her work focuses on reducing inequalities in the determinants of health and wellbeing.  She is a director on the board of the Crown Agency Kāinga Ora – homes and communities, a fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi and former chair of the International Science Council Committee, Urban Health and Wellbeing: a systems approach. She has received numerous awards, including the Prime Minister’s Science Team Prize and the Royal Society of NZ Rutherford Medal. She was awarded a Queen’s Service Order and the Companion of the NZ Order of Merit for contributions to public health.

Tuesday, 6 June: 2023 Annual General Meeting

Hawke’s Bay Branch of the Royal Society’s 2023 AGM will be held at 5.30pm on Tuesday 6 June, at Napier Sailing Club (63 West Quay, Ahuriri, Napier)

All members are welcome, and encouraged, to attend. We’ll tell you how the Society is doing, and listen to your ideas for our Society and its programme.

An invitation and Agenda will be sent to all members prior to the meeting.

Tuesday, 6 June: Does exposure to germs in early life lead to better long term health?

Dr Kerry Hilligan: Malaghan Institute of Medical Research

Date: 6pm, Tuesday, 6 June, 2023

Venue: Napier Sailing Club (63 West Quay, Ahuriri, Napier)

Admission: Gold coin donation

A properly trained immune system protects us against a diverse range of pathogens – including viruses, bacteria and parasites. Early-life exposure to such germs is thought to be essential for the development of a healthy immune system. Most studies exploring this concept have looked at the role of the harmless bacteria that live inside the human gut, skin and lungs. However, there is emerging evidence that early-life exposure to other germs, including disease-causing pathogens, may be critically important for educating the immune system on how best to react to serious infectious diseases.

People living in developed countries, such as Aotearoa, have less exposure to germs due to increasing urbanisation and high standards of hygiene. But reduced early-life exposure to these immune-stimulating germs coincides with an increase in unwanted immune responses that cause allergies and autoimmune disorders, suggesting a possible link between these phenomena.

Dr Kerry Hilligan (Photo: supplied)

Kerry Hilligan worked at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the US for three years before returning to New Zealand and started her work at the Malaghan Institute in September 2022. She was awarded a Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2021. Under the fellowship, Kerry is investigating how early infections or challenges to a developing immune system shape and influence it later in life. She was also recently awarded an HRC Emerging Researcher First Grant for this work. She is visiting Hawke’s Bay to meet Malaghan Institute donors in the region and has kindly offered to give a public lecture about her research.

Generative AI – a lecture series in May and June 2023

Four lectures on this topical and important subject are being broadcast free of charge by the Faculty of Science, University of Auckland

Thursday, 11 May: 2023 Gibbons Online Lecture – AI and the New Creative Revolution

The 2023 Gibbons Lectures series is intended to describe ongoing research in Computer Science to a wider public, organized by Faculty of Science, University of Auckland.

Tim Gibson, Stolen Glances Studio

Thursday 11 May, 6:30pm

Venue: Lib B15 Lecture Theatre General Library Basement, (109-B15) The University of Auckland 5 Alfred Street, Auckland CBD, register your place here.

This lecture will be available to livestream here.

Generative Artificial Intelligence like ChatGPT and its visual equivalents Dall-E, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion have shaken up the creative workforce, often producing industry level copywriting, editing, illustration and design at a fraction of the time and cost of a human worker. Their capabilities have set off a technological arm’s race at the world’s largest tech companies while simultaneously building a user base of enthusiasts faster than the most popular social media platforms.

What can Generative AI be used for, how powerful is it really, how could it be used ethically, and what impact will it have on our creative industries and the people who work for and engage with them?

What could a world look like where creativity is ‘free’? 

In this talk, Tim will showcase some of the current technologies’ capabilities, the hot takes and debates from within the creative industries and attempt to predict what is next for creative Generative Artificial Intelligence.

Tim Gibson is a Creative Director, Animator and Illustrator who has worked for companies big and small across film, television, comics, branding and packaging design. His work has appeared for Garage Project, Weta Workshop, Le Monde Diplomatique, Penguin Random-House, Te Papa Tongarewa and more.

Thursday, 18 May: 2023 Gibbons Online Lecture – AI Colonisation and Mātauranga Sovereignty

The 2023 Gibbons Lectures series is intended to describe ongoing research in Computer Science to a wider public, organized by Faculty of Science, University of Auckland.

Karaitiana Taiuru, Taiuru & Associates

Thursday 18 May, 6.30pm

Venue: Lib B15 Lecture Theatre General Library Basement, (109-B15) The University of Auckland 5 Alfred Street, Auckland CBD, register your place here.

This lecture will be available to livestream here.

Māori and indeed all indigenous peoples are on the brink of being colonised again with generative AI if they are not a part of the ethics, initial planning and decision-making processes, as beta testers, co-developers, the entire life cycle from inception to deployment and then in a monitoring capacity. The talk will then discuss the positive impacts of generative AI with te reo Māori and future considerations for Māori Peoples with generative AI in our traditional settings such as marae and pōwhiri.

Iwi affiliations include Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Toa.

Dr Karaitiana Taiuru is a future thinking leader with Te Tiriti, Māori culture, mātauranga, te ao Māori, tikanga and how those rights and beliefs are applied to the digital world and biological sciences. He is a director of his boutique research and Māori cultural advisory company Taiuru & Associates.

Thursday, 25 May: 2023 Gibbons Online Lecture – How does generative AI work and what is its future?

The 2023 Gibbons Lectures series is intended to describe ongoing research in Computer Science to a wider public, organized by Faculty of Science, University of Auckland.

Jiamou Liu, School of Computer Science, University of Auckland

Thursday 25 May, 6:30pm

Venue: Lib B15 Lecture Theatre General Library Basement, (109-B15) The University of Auckland 5 Alfred Street, Auckland CBD, register your place here.

This lecture will be available to livestream here.

Graph analysis is an increasingly important tool in modern data science, providing powerful ways to represent and analyse complex structured data. In this talk, we will discuss recent advances in graph analysis, including data mining and social network analysis, as well as the use of Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) for tasks such as node classification and link prediction. We will also explore recent techniques in contrastive learning for graphs and data augmentation for graphs, which have enabled significant improvements in the accuracy and robustness of graph-based models.

Jiamou currently holds a position as a Senior Lecturer at the School of Computer Science at The University of Auckland. Graduated with a PhD in Computer Science from the same university in 2010, he has held academic positions at institutions including the University of Leipzig in Germany and AUT in NZ. Jiamou’s research is focused on a variety of areas, including data mining, multi-agent systems, and natural language processing. His work published in prestigious venues such as NeurIPS, ICML, and ACL. He has served as a Program Committee member for leading conferences in the field, including AAAI, IJCAI, and AAMAS.