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Michelle Dickinson

Michelle Dickinson


Nanogirl, as Michelle Dickinson is known, liked breaking things as a kid. But that wasn’t on the list of options offered by her high school careers advisor, so it wasn’t until she found a university engineering department fracture mechanics lab that Dickinson knew what she might want to do.1

Dickinson set up and runs New Zealand's sole nanomechanical testing lab, which conducts research into breaking extremely small materials, pushes the boundaries of what can be tested and looks into why things behave differently when they are small.

Dickinson is also passionate science communicator. She co-founded OMGTech, a charity which helps provide children with access to learning about technology, has numerous speaking slots in the media, delivered a live science show around New Zealand and has written two books, No 8 Recharged and The Kitchen Science Cookbook.

In 2014 she was awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize and in 2015 she won the Royal Society’s Callaghan Medal for exciting young people about science.


1. TEDx Talks, Nanogirl, My Quest to Become a Superhero: Michelle Dickinson at TEDxAuckland, accessed June 2, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jV-KW1jpJo.

This profile is part of the series 150 Women in 150 Words that celebrates women’s contributions to expanding knowledge in New Zealand, running as part of our 150th Anniversary.