Science

The Beirut explosion shockwave - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Aug 06, 2020

That was clearly a huge explosion. Just after the explosion, we see a cloud of ‘fog’ moving outwards at high speed. This is a shockwave, rather similar to that which causes a sonic boom. The ‘fog’ is caused by water condensing from the atmosphere in areas of intense low pressure and temperature, and parallels the sonic boom cloud, or … Read More

Data analysis skills are in hot demand – what should we be doing about it? - Genomics Aotearoa

Genomics Aotearoa Jul 29, 2020

By Associate Professor Mik Black, Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago The increased availability of complex biological data sets means that analysis and computation are becoming critically important skills for New Zealand’s future scientists. Because of this, we need to be doing everything we can to help our students develop these skills, to better prepare them for large-scale data analysis … Read More

All-pervading Waikato dampness - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Jul 17, 2020

Yesterday we arrived back in Cambridge after a few days holiday in Auckland, being tourists. We sampled such delights as the unheated hotel swimming pool,  the complicated and expensive process of getting on a bus (basically having to find somewhere from which to buy a HOP card, for a non-refundable $10 a card), the completely non-social distanced pedestrian rugby scrum … Read More

The day the sky fell in - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Jun 30, 2020

It’s June 30th, marked as Asteroid Day by many people of an astronomical bent around the globe. On this date in 1908, early in the morning in a remote part of central Siberia, the sky fell in. Well, not literally. What happened is a substantially-sized bit of cosmic detritus – a lump of rock and perhaps ice – arrived … Read More

The fate of the albatross - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Jun 19, 2020

Yesterday I wrote that I can find some reason to celebrate almost any date, and today (19th June) is no exception: it’s World Albatross Day. Unfortunately the day began with a news story concerning a commercial fishing boat killing four endangered Antipodean albatrosses off NZ’s East Cape. Even more unfortunately, such events are not unusual, with several … Read More

Science and indigenous knowledge - Mind Matters

Michael Corballis May 06, 2020

There is a call in many parts of the world for indigenous knowledge and values to be incorporated alongside more universal understandings. In New Zealand, this has come under the umbrella of Mātauranga Māori, a body of knowledge encompassing the traditional Māori way of viewing the world. This raises two important questions: How should Mātauranga Māori be integrated with “western” … Read More

Where is New Zealand’s highest point? - Out of Space

Duncan Steel May 01, 2020

Did you know that the top of Mount Cook is by no means New Zealand’s furthest point from the centre of the Earth? And that Samoa’s tallest mountain is seven kilometres further from our planet’s core than anywhere in NZ? The highest point anywhere, in terms of separation from Earth’s centre? — It’s not Mount Everest.  It’s the sort of … Read More