The third annual Science Honours took place in Wellington on Wednesday 16 November 2005, with announcements of the winners of the prestigious Rutherford, Pickering and Liley medals. The Rutherford Medal, New Zealand’s top science honour, was awarded by the Minister of Research Science and Technology, the Hon Steve Maharey, to Professor Paul Callaghan FRSNZ FRS, of Victoria University of Wellington.

Professor Callaghan is one of New Zealand’s best known and well respected scientists, and was awarded the medal for his world-leading research in development of new Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) methods, which have significant impacts in physics, chemistry, biology and medicine, as well as for his role as a leader and champion of New Zealand science, and his ability to communicate a broad range of scientific ideas. The Rutherford Medal for Science and Technology is a government award, conferred by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

The Pickering Medal, to recognise excellence and innovation in the practical application of technology, went to Professor John Boys, of The University of Auckland, for pioneering commercially highly successful innovations in transferring power across air-gaps. The technology is used for manufacturing micro-chips and LCD displays, and is patented in the US, Europe, Japan, Korea and Australasia.

The Liley Medal, for research that has made an outstanding contribution to health and medical science, went to Professor Richard Faull of The University of Auckland, in the field of neuroscience. Professor Faull recently discovered that the human brain has the potential to repair itself by generating new neurons, which has exciting implications for the development of new strategies for treating neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntingdon’s, stoke and epilepsy, which affect one in five New Zealanders. The Liley Medal is awarded by the Health Research Council.

The Marsden Medal for a lifetime of outstanding service to science, was awarded to Dr Kevin Tate of Landcare Research. He has played a critical role in unifying research on the mitigation of terrestrial greenhouse gases, informing the Government on climate change policy, and is a long-standing member of the National Science Strategy Committee for Climate Change. In addition, Dr Tate has mentored and advised young scientists who have themselves become research leaders.

Full list of award recipients

  • Rutherford for exceptional contribution to New Zealand society in science and technology: awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the New Zealand Government to Professor Paul Callaghan FRSNZ, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Pickering to recognise excellence and innovation in the practical application of technology: awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand to Professor John Boys FRSNZ, The University of Auckland
  • Liley Medal to recognise research that has made an outstanding contribution to health and medical sciences: awarded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand to Professor Richard Faull FRSNZ, The University of Auckland
  • Marsden Medal for a lifetime of outstanding service to science: awarded by New Zealand Association of Scientists to Dr Kevin Tate FRSNZ, Landcare Research
  • Te Rangi Hiroa Medal to recognise excellence in social sciences: awarded by the Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand to Professor Cluny Macpherson, Massey University
  • Edward Kidson Medal: awarded by the Meteorological Society of New Zealand to Dr Jim Renwick, NIWA for outstanding research by a young scientist: awarded by New Zealand Association of Scientists to Dr Fiona MacDonald, University of Otago
  • NZIF Forester of the Year Award to recognise leadership and excellence: awarded by New Zealand Institute of Forestry to Dr Andrew McEwen, Wellington
  • Shorland Medal to recognise contribution to research: awarded by New Zealand Association of Scientists to Dr Adya Singh, SCION
  • NZMS Research Award: awarded by the New Zealand Mathematical Society to Professor Robert McLachlan FRSNZ, Massey University and Professor James Sneyd FRSNZ, The University of Auckland
  • McKenzie Award for educational research: awarded by the New Zealand Association for Research in Education to Professor Clive McGee, University of Waikato
  • Outstanding Physiologist to recognise outstanding work by a young scientist: awarded by the New Zealand Society of Plant Physiologists to Dr Julian Eaton-Rye, University of Otago
  • Applied Biosystems Award: awarded by New Zealand Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to Professor Barry Scott, Massey University
  • New Zealand HortResearch Prize: awarded by New Zealand Institute of Chemistry to Professor Margaret Brimble FRSNZ, The University of Auckland