On this page:
- 1. Upcoming Emerging Issues paper: What is the sustainable carrying capacity of New Zealand?
- 2. Media Release: 2012 Rutherford Lecture Tour with Christine Winterbourn
- 3. Closing date nears for 2012 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes
- 4. FUSIONZ website for science, technology, humanities jobs
- 5. Branch event: ‘The limits to growth, 40 years later’, 31 July, Nelson
- 6. Branch event: Sustainable Buildings in New Zealand, 17 July, Palmerston North
- 7. Public lecture by scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider, 12 July, Auckland
- 8. The Return of the KiwiMartians, 18 July, Wellington
- 9. NZ eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) invites applications to access its facilities, closes 27 July
- 10. James Hector’s letters online
- 11. Seminar on population and urban growth following the 2008 financial crisis, 25 July, Wellington
- 12. Lecture series: ‘Genetics: the good, the bad, and the controversy’, July – August, Auckland and Wellington
- 13. Change of date for NZCCRI seminar: ‘Knowledge Matters’ now 26 July, Wellington
- 14. Science communication symposium ‘Quakes, meltdowns and outbreaks’, 21-22 February 2013, Christchurch
- 15. World Conference on Timber Engineering on next week in Auckland
- 16. Our Changing World, Thursday 9.00 pm, Radio New Zealand National 101FM
- 17. Follow the Royal Society of New Zealand on Facebook and Twitter
The Royal Society’s new Emerging Issues paper will discuss the question of what is the sustainable carrying capacity of New Zealand?
Given our endowment of land, water, and resources, how many humans can New Zealand support indefinitely, at what level of resource use, and with what quality of life? This is a question that is simple to ask but complex to answer. To what extent can we trade our way past the constraints set by the biosphere? To what extent can we ameliorate these constraints through efficiency or technological replacement? And which constraints are fundamental and unavoidable?
If you have relevant expertise and wish to be involved in this consultation, then please contact Dr Jez Weston, Senior Policy Analyst at the Society (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Friday, 20 July.
Food advertising tells us to eat foods high in anti-oxidants to help our body fight off damage from free radicals and carcinogens, but the anti-oxidant content of food is only part of the story, as Professor Christine Winterbourn, Director of the Free Radical Research Group in the Pathology Department at the University of Otago, will explain in her upcoming lecture tour.
“Our antioxidant defences are in part derived from diet, but most important are cellular enzymes that promote the breakdown of free radicals or repair the damage that they cause,” says Professor Winterbourn.
Interestingly, the food we eat affects the body’s anti-oxidant system. “When you eat certain foods, like red wine, chocolate or broccoli, there are compounds in these foods that trigger our own cells to mount an anti-oxidant defence by producing anti-oxidant enzymes.”
New Zealand’s current and future science heroes are nearing the deadline to enter the 2012 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes. The prizes are this country’s most prestigious science awards, with a total of $1 million on offer.
The 2011 Prime Minister’s Science Prize was won by a NIWA – Otago University Chemical and Physical Oceanography team led by Professor Philip Boyd for research that is helping to guide international decisions on mitigating climate change.
Professor Boyd says winning the prize has opened doors for the team both in New Zealand and internationally. The 2011 Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist, Rob McKay, also experienced international acclaim.
“One of the things that surprised me the most was the international attention and recognition this award has. It has led to invitations to be involved in scientific planning committees and will help fund international collaboration in world-class laboratories,” he says.
Entries close 24 July. Visit www.pmscienceprizes.org.nz
This week, Fusionz has 1 vacancies for jobs. The latest jobs are:
- Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Physiology (2 Confirmation-Path positions) University of Otago, Dunedin
For more information and to list your vacancy: http://fusionz.royalsociety.org.nz/
The Nelson Science Society presents a talk by Dr John Robinson. ”The world is finite and expanding human activity will one day become too much. A considerable body of science points to early signs of the approaching limit that have been evident for some time now, and forecasts that the inevitable crash will come around 2030.”
It is now 40 years since a report to the Club of a Rome, The limits to growth, was published. This talk will follow the formation of the Club of Rome; the report of The limits to growth; further trends in global population, resource limits and impacts on the environment; long term economic behaviour (John’s 1989 book Excess capital provided a description of the 2008 crash) and other works in this holistic field that have improved the initial forecast.
John Robinson co-authored several reports on The limits to growth as a scientist at DSIR. He was founding secretary of the New Zealand branch of The Club of Rome and represented New Zealand at the 10th anniversary meeting in Rome (1978).
Details: 7.30pm, Tuesday July 31. Venue: A211, NMIT, entrance off Alton St. All welcome, non-members $2.
The Manawatu Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand presents a talk by Patrick Arnold, from consultancy firm eCubed Building Workshop, Wellington.
Considering the environmental impact of our built environment has only recently become mainstream in the New Zealand construction industry. This talk will discuss the reasons for this shift before elaborating on the issues at hand, including discussing environmental design and rating tools for buildings. Patrick will also talk about how these issues relate to houses and human behaviour.
After growing up in a typical, uninsulated Palmerston North bungalow, Patrick has been working as an ESD (ecologically sustainable design) Engineer in Wellington and Auckland for eight years. In that time he has managed to work on some of New Zealand’s leading ‘green buildings’, some of which he will discuss as examples.
Details: 7.30pm Tuesday, 17 July, Te Manawa – Art Gallery, 326 Main Street, Palmerston North
The discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland has captured the interest of news media around the world. Professor Mark Kruse, who conducts research at the Large Hadron Collider and is directly involved in their search for the Higgs boson, will present a public lecture entitled “why we care about the Large Hadron Collider” at the University of Auckland tonight. The lecture is free of charge, open to the public and will be non-technical in nature.
Details: 6.30pm 12 July, Venue: Fisher & Paykel Auditorium Level 0, Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, University of Auckland, Cost: Free
The KiwiMars crew returns to Carter Observatory for a special public event on Wednesday 18 July to share their experience of their time on “Mars”. This is your chance to meet the crew and find out about their work and learn more about exploration of the Red Planet.
On 21 April 2012, the first ever New Zealand crew began their 2-week expedition at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah. The six crew members lived in the “Hab”, a small ten-metre diameter, two-storey “habitat” that also comprised a greenhouse and an observatory. The MDRS provides an analogy for what an early mission to a Mars habitat might be like.
The evening will also include a short planetarium show that will take a special look at Mars including the much anticipated landing of the NASA Curiosity Rover.
Details: Wednesday 18 July, doors open from 6.30pm allowing some time to wander through the exhibition before the programme begins at 7pm. From 8pm telescope viewing through our historic Thomas Cooke telescope will focus on the planet Mars as the weather permits. Bookings are essential, normal entry price applies. Carter Observatory, Wellington.
NeSI is a collaboration of universities and CRIs providing access to compute resources for researchers across the country. The process is neutral of discipline or institution.
The call closes 27 July 2012. NeSI are accepting applications via the Proposal Development and Research allocation classes. Proposal Development is designed for project teams new to high performance computing to evaluate their applications on NeSI’s facilities at zero cost with full support. This class provides a relatively small allocation for a few months. Projects within the research allocation class have received funding from a peer-reviewed grant process, such as the Marsden Fund. These grants are far larger allocations for a full year. They provided at either 80% or 100% subsidy, depending on the research team’s situation.
For more information and to apply, visit www.nesi.org.nz/apply
James Hector, founder of the Colonial Museum (now Te Papa), Geological Survey (now GNS) and the NZ Institute (now the Royal Society of New Zealand) was a dominating figure in the scientific life of 19th century New Zealand. Although a large official correspondence exists, few of his personal letters have survived.
A group of 22 letters, written to his wife in 1890 when he was away from home for a long period, have recently been transcribed, and are available as a downloadable PDF. These provide a fascinating insight into aspects of life in New Zealand during 1890, as well as Hector’s views on industrial unrest that was then sweeping the country.
These letters have been transcribed as part of a biographical study of James Hector, and further collections are in preparation. One of his letters describing his preparation for the 1882 Transit of Venus is available.
James Newell, Director of MERA, will give a presentation on ‘Population and “urban growth” processes in Wellington Cities and Districts following the 2008 financial crisis’. This is a presentation and discussion over lunch.
The presentation will examine the evidence and current official estimates of the changes in Wellington since the 2006 census and 2008 financial crisis in the context of trends of the longer term history of Wellington and by comparison with other main urban areas and New Zealand as a whole.
Details: lunchtime, 25 July 2012, Turnbull House, Wellington. Registration essential.
12. Lecture series: ‘Genetics: the good, the bad, and the controversy’, July – August, Auckland and Wellington
The second talk in the University of Otago’s Winter Lecture Series is being held next week in Wellington and Auckland.
The series, which is titled ‘Genetics: the good, the bad and the controversy’, is being held in association with Genetics Otago. It will feature free public lectures by leading Otago thinkers and a guest speaker, world-renowned bioethicist Professor Robert Klitzman of Columbia University, NY.
Next week’s lecture will be from Biochemist Dr Anita Dunbier, Hype or hope? Exploring the genome to conquer cancer.
Wellington Details: 6pm Wednesday 18 July, Room 6 – Level 17, James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, 147 The Terrace
Auckland Details: 6pm Thursday 19 July, Level 4 (street level), University of Otago Auckland Centre, 385 Queen Street
Mark Cooper, Visiting Scholar at the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington will give a talk entitled ‘Knowledge Matters: The tangle of science, politics, and policy for climate change’.
Identifying options for managing climatic change and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions relies upon knowledge generated across a broad range of scientific disciplines and approaches. Using examples from both the social and natural sciences, this talk will examine some of the the many ways in which knowledge and uncertainty frame potential action on climate change. By exploring how particular policy approaches and political aims in turn frame the production of knowledge, insight into the persistent challenges of emissions abatement strategy can be gathered.
Mark is a Ph.D. Candidate in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Visiting Scholar at the NZ Climate Change Research Institute. Mark’s thesis examines the development of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme as a case study of the interaction of science and politics in greenhouse gas mitigation policy. His interests include the integration of social and natural sciences in environmental governance and the cultural economy of agriculture and land use.
Details: 12.30 – 1.30 pm, Thursday 26 July, venue to be confirmed.
14. Science communication symposium ‘Quakes, meltdowns and outbreaks’, 21-22 February 2013, Christchurch
A two-day symposium dedicated to leading-edge disaster communication will take place next February, bringing together science communicators from around the world.
The conference theme: ‘Disasters – Communicating in the Crisis and Aftermath’ will explore the challenges of communicating science during major events, from earthquakes, tsunamis and pandemics to agricultural disease outbreaks, as well as sustainability and disaster prevention planning.
Hosted by the Science Communicators Association of New Zealand (SCANZ), the Symposium is being co-organised by SCANZ and the global science communication network PCST (Public Communicators of Science and Technology).
“The PCST network grants symposium status to conferences relatively infrequently, so it is something of a coup for New Zealand to get this coveted international accreditation for our event in February,” SCANZ President Phil Johnstone said.
“Holding the conference on the 2nd anniversary of the devastating 22 February 2011 quake will add a poignant dimension to the symposium, and our programme will include opportunities for reflection and remembrance.
The conference will be held at the Chateau on the Park hotel complex in Christchurch on 21-22 February 2013. Visits to a range of science sector and other destinations around Canterbury will be offered on 23 February.
The World Conference on Timber Engineering 15-19 July in Auckland is the most prestigious fully international conference focussed on innovations in timber materials, structural performance and architectural developments in timber.
Many presentations will be focussed on applied research and the first keynote speaker Professor Hans Blass from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany has a research group that has been involved with developing advanced connection systems including wood screws up to 0.5m in length.
Leading New Zealand developments in timber connections and seismic resistant structures will be presented. The conference is in the southern hemisphere for the first time and is jointly hosted by the NZ Timber Design Society and Australian colleagues; 550 delegates from 36 countries will be presenting 240 verbal presentations and 140 poster presentations at the Skycity Convention Centre.
Conference information is available at www.wcte2012.com
Presented and produced by Alison Ballance, Ruth Beran and Veronika Meduna.
Glaciologist Nancy Bertler spent the last two summers on ice, setting up one of the most remote field camps in Antarctica. She tells Veronika Meduna how the ice cores she brought back as part of the Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution project hold clues about how quickly Antarctica’s smaller ice sheet responds to warming temperatures.
The pathogenic kiwifruit bacterium Psa-V now affects many kiwifruit orchards, and as we heard last week the race is on to breed a Psa-resistant strain of kiwifruit. Tony Reglinski is part of the team at Plant and Food Research working on the task, and he tells Alison Ballance that his role is to expose seedlings of new cultivars to the Psa bacteria in a lab setting, to quickly identify those that are susceptible and those that show some resistance.
At midday on 1 July 2012 a leap second was inserted into the atomic time scale. Tim Armstrong, director of the Measurement Standards Laboratory at IRL, explains to Ruth Beran what a leap second is and shows her how caesium atomic clocks work.
Waikato University post-doctoral researcher Hilary Nath and chemist Alan Langdon have come up with an innovative method for treating bore water on Waikato farms. Alison Ballance joins them in the lab to see their perforated electric flow-through water filter, which may also be a simple and low-cost way of providing clean water in developing countries.
Two science and environment stories air during the week on Afternoons with Jim Mora at 3:35pm, Monday and Thursday. The complete programme is repeated at 1:10am on Sunday mornings.
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