A Measure of Science

What are patents good for?

Shaun Hendy Jan 08, 2010

I’ve spent a lot of time in this blog analysing the distribution of patents both geographically and amongst companies. In this post I’ll briefly look at the value of a patent, firstly from the perspective of the inventor, and then from society’s point of view. A patent for an invention protects its inventor from being scooped by other … Read More

What’s ahead in 2010?

Shaun Hendy Dec 29, 2009

2010 is shaping up to be a defining year for New Zealand’s RS&T system. We will be hearing how the Government will set its RS&T priorities and what these priorities will be. The CRI task force will be reporting back, and we will find out how the Government is going to encourage R&D in the business sector. As … Read More

The nanoscience of ice hockey

Shaun Hendy Dec 21, 2009

During my PhD studies in Canada, I devoted a considerable amount of time and effort to becoming a mediocre ice hockey player. I have a scar and a grainy photograph to prove it. You can imagine, then, what a difficult decision it was to come back to New Zealand to start a post-doctoral fellowship in a city without an … Read More

The productivity of inventors in cities

Shaun Hendy Dec 16, 2009

In previous posts I have looked at data that showed that bigger cities produce more patents per capita. For instance, over the 30-years that the OECD database covers, Auckland has produced one PCT patent for every 750 people, whereas Sydney has produced one for every 550 people. Why is this? We have seen that inventors that participate in … Read More

2009 RS&T Scorecard released

Shaun Hendy Dec 09, 2009

The 2009 RS&T scorecard is now available here. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to obtain a pre-release copy from MoRST so I have not had time to fully digest it. However, I will draw your attention to the interesting plot on page 4 which charts the number of patents per billion dollars GDP (2009 PPP). This measure presumably says something … Read More

The first blog?

Shaun Hendy Dec 05, 2009

In 1993 a physicist called John Baez started posting This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics to several usenet newsgroups. At the time usenet was more like a modern discussion forum, except that everyone posted using their real names. However, the style and regularity of John’s posts very much anticipated the modern blog, even if the web wasn’t yet world-wide, and … Read More

What is a karonkka?

Shaun Hendy Nov 05, 2009

I’m on my way to Helsinki at the moment to examine a Finnish PhD thesis. The University of Helsinki PhD exam is quite different from its New Zealand counterpart. To start with the thesis itself is a merciful 40 pages, although it is accompanied by 6 refereed journal articles. Overall the body of work is roughly comparable to a good … Read More