A History of NZ Science in 25 Objects

Audrey Eagle’s Botanical Drawings

Jean Balchin Mar 28, 2018

When I was a child, my father and I would sit at the kitchen table after tea, armed with a set of Reeve’s watercolour paints, a grubby cup of water, sheets of cartridge paper and various picture books depicting the flora and fauna of Great Britain. My Dad was quite the artist, and he patiently taught me how … Read More

Unravelling the twisted story of DNA

Jean Balchin Jun 28, 2017

This grainy, black and white photograph is quite possibly the most important photograph in human history. Photograph 51, the unimaginatively-named X-ray diffraction image of DNA was taken by Raymond Gosling in May 1952, a PhD student under the supervision of Rosalind Franklin at King’s College London. Photograph 51 triggered the development … Read More

The Britten Motorcycle

Jean Balchin Jun 23, 2017

Andrew Stroud on the Britten V1000 at Paeroa, Waikato, New Zealand in February, 2011.  My brother John loved motorbikes. As a child, he would fling aside his toy trains and model cars, and happily roll a mini motorbike along the terrain of his legs and arms for hours, muttering “vrmm-vrmm” under his breath. He was also … Read More

Plastic – It’s Electrifying!

Jean Balchin Jun 13, 2017

To this day, I vividly recall my tragic attempts in product design class at high school. Our teacher, underpaid and underprepared, threw caution to the wind and let us do as we pleased. The only instructions we were given was that we had to make something that could be used as a night light. To this end, I set about creating a … Read More

Decomposition and decapitated pig’s heads

Jean Balchin May 31, 2017

Decapitated pig’s heads floating in the moonlit water may sound like a scene from a B-grade horror movie, yet Gemma Dickson’s investigation into the microbial marine decomposition of human and animal remains has revolutionised forensic science. This may come as a surprise, but currently, if human remains wash up on shore, there is no established scientific method to conclude … Read More