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Canterbury Branch: Science & Society talk series 2022

The Canterbury Branch of the Royal Society Te Apārangi has put together an exciting series of 'Science & Society' lectures running once a month on Monday evenings at Tūranga Central Library from 27 Pipiri June to 28 Whiringa-ā-rangi November 2022.

Recurring Zoom link for all talks: https://canterbury.zoom.us/j/99352534712?pwd=RmcxcFpPS2Y3UGhBV1FQbTlEUUlDUT09 

Meeting ID: 993 5253 4712
Passcode: 555

27 June – Multimodal Digital Assistant for a Smart Food Processor

Amit Sarkar, Senior Lecturer, Ara Institute of Canterbury, NZ;
John Ascroft, Chief Innovation Officer, Jade Software

As Artificial intelligence (AI) becomes ubiquitous, it becomes an indispensable part of our work and lives in many ways. One such important area of application is AI-based digital assistants. They are now becoming available in large numbers and a wide range of usage scenarios. The design-science paradigm has its roots in engineering and computer science. It is fundamentally a problem-solving paradigm. Design science paradigm has been used to create a solution for four questions concerning rethinking the user interaction process of home appliances:

  1. “Can we speed up the setting process by telling the appliance what we need and want?”
  2. “How can we easily configure the user settings instead of reading manuals and complicated menus?”
  3. “How can we find relevant functions quickly?”
  4. “How can we interact with the UI manually and via voice command?”

This talk will be available to watch via Zoom. Watch this space to access the link. 

25 July – Keeping our borders safe: The social stigma of nursing in managed isolation and quarantine border facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Isabel Jamieson, RN, (University of Canterbury/Ara), Assoc. Prof. Cathy Andrew, RN, (University of Canterbury) and Jacinda King, RN (CDHB).

The research team will talk about their research with registered nurses who worked in the Managed Isolation and Quarantine Hotels. The talk will focus on the personal and social impacts on the nurses. The four themes that will be discussed are: protecting the community while being a risk to the community; the barriers beyond the borders – social stigma; kept at distance - families and social connections; and a part of, but apart from, other health professionals. This study captures a unique moment in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand and highlights how the nurses’ professional and personal lives were significantly impacted.

22 August – Sport Science - A presentation of two halves:
1.      Heart stopping action!
2.      Against the run of play?

Dr Peter Olsen, Ara Institute of Canterbury

Peter will discuss research undertaken on cardiovascular events during the men’s Rugby World Cups (RWC) in 1999-2011 to uncover if there was literally heart stopping action.  In the second half of the presentation, there will be a discussion of research undertaken in women’s rugby, an area where there has been limited research. 

26 September - Fear to Fascination: International Spider Adventures

Dr Fiona Cross, University of Canterbury

I used to treat spiders with fear and loathing, but once I took the time to learn more about them it opened up a world full of discovery and adventure. In particular, I work with jumping spiders (family Salticidae), which have unique, complex eyes and a capacity for spatial vision exceeding that for any other animals of similar size. Despite having brains that would comfortably fit on pinheads, some salticid species have been observed to make use of selective attention, working memory and problem solving in their everyday lives, these being cognitive topics traditionally ascribed to animals with much bigger brains. Studying these spiders help us gain important insights into animal cognition by challenging long-held biases of what an animal with a tiny brain is capable of doing.

31 October – Verginia and Nga Roimata

Assoc. Prof. Alison Griffiths, University of Canterbury

Alison will talk about the Roman legend of Verginia in parallel with the (oral) historical account of Nga Roimata, the daughter of the Ngai Tahu chief Tamaiharanui, and she will show how the Māori concepts of mana, utu, and mana whenua help identify and differentiate the complex underlying issues around moral actions, social status, and political power in the Roman story of Verginia.

28 November - World War I and the ancient word

Dr Gary Morrison, Head of Classics, University of Canterbury

Gary will present a lecture on his WWI project, where he will introduce how New Zealanders reflections on and ultimately memory of WWI (and in particular Gallipoli) is influenced by the ancient world. Heroic imagery from antiquity helps frame the narrative of WWI. He will show that the allusions to antiquity are present in the personal diaries of combatants and the newspaper articles at home.


Tūranga Central Library, Christchurch

6:30pm Mon 27 June, 2022 - 7:30pm Mon 28 November, 2022