2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the first dinosaur bone being discovered in New Zealand. One of the remarkable aspects of this discovery is that it was driven by an amateur fossil hunter, Joan Wiffen. Joan’s story and fossils now mark her as an important figure in New Zealand science, and the 40th anniversary of Joan’s first dinosaur [...]
The power of pollen Jan 27
By Katherine Holt Anna Sandiford has written before about how she uses pollen in her forensic science work after watching an episode of ‘Bones’. Pollen also offers a world of other exciting opportunities – from searching for oil or preventing ‘honey fraud’, to tracking goods or fighting the war on drugs. As a palynologist (pollen scientist) I [...]
The 2nd part of a summer science series from NIWA Karl Safi is reluctant to say brewing beer is a science. He thinks it is more accurate – and important – to describe it is a combination of science and art. But he will admit his day job as a microbial ecologist definitely helps with [...]
NIWA photographers are well known for their stunning images of New Zealand’s environment. Four of the best discuss their favourite shots and what was going on at the time. Dave Allen, photographer. Camera: Nikon D800 The photo of scientists Tony Bromley and Sally Gray releasing a weather balloon was taken at the tiny West Coast [...]
by Peter Buchanan What value can be put on an accurate scientific name? How about the “value” of the bacterial names Clostridium sporogenes vs. Clostridium botulinum? In the latter case, the estimates begin upwards of NZ$100 million. There is an important branch of science called Systematics that often slips below the radar until critical issues [...]
by Laurent Lebreton, data scientist at dumpark A recent study on marine plastic pollution published in the journal PlosOne estimates that some 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing more than 268.000 tonnes are floating on the world’s oceans. Over a six-year period, researchers from six different countries collected plastic density data from 24 expeditions into the [...]
By Karla Falloon, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment What’s your best story of New Zealand science and innovation impacting the world? We want to hear it and tell it to the world. I lead the international science team at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Our main aim is to support increased international science cooperation with key [...]
By Mick Roberts, Massey University The West African outbreak of Ebola has claimed more than 4,800 lives and this number is sure to rise. There is understandably a lot of fear about Ebola, but how does it actually compare with other fast-spreading infectious diseases? Bubonic plague Plagues have been reported since biblical times, but it [...]
The Evolution of Superbugs Sep 23
SciBlogs is running guest posts from some of the Eureka! Sir Paul Callaghan Awards 2014 finalists. In this guest post, Siska Falconer from Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu tackles the science behind superbugs. Scientist predict that antibiotics will be ineffective in less than 10 years. Imagine ten years on with no antibiotics for infections, [...]
The sexism of the circus Sep 22
Earlier this month, I went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Totem show, currently doing a month’s run in Auckland on its way around the world. It was, as ever, an amazing show, but one act really disappointed me. Not due to a lack of skill or amazement, but purely because of the way it depicted scientists.
In this particular act, there is a scientist and a scientist’s assistant. Sounds good. However, fulfilling all stereotypes, the scientist was….that’s right, a grey-haired man (played by a young man, as we saw when he removed his wig at the end of the act). The assistant was, you guessed it, a young female.