Griffin's Gadgets

2015 Research Honours – the winners

Peter Griffin Nov 10, 2015

It’s awards season again for the science sector, kicking off with the Research Honours Dinner tonight in Auckland and to be followed tomorrow by the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes and next week, the Association of Scientists’ Prizes. Some big names among the winners tonight, many of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with on various science communication efforts. Congratulations … Read More

Nanogirl snags another accolade for her science communication

Peter Griffin Nov 10, 2015

Another well-deserved win for Sciblogger Dr Michelle Dickinson as she picks up the prestigous Callaghan Medal for her science communication efforts. This latest win, announced tonight at the research Honours Dinner in Auckland, is in addition to the New Zealand Association of Scientists Science Communicator’s Award and the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communicator’s Prize. That amounts to a clean sweep. I … Read More

Oh Canada! The muzzle is coming off scientists

Peter Griffin Oct 22, 2015

Canadian scientists and journalists will be breathing a sigh of relief this week with the change of government in Canada. Justin Trudeau The Harper Government’s protocols governing scientists’ interaction with the media were widely criticised. I remember attending the World Conference of Science Journalists in Qatar a few years back where a session featured a panel of Canadians venting … Read More

Obesity plan gets thumbs down from experts

Peter Griffin Oct 20, 2015

The Government yesterday released details of 22 initiatives, some new, some expansions of existing programmes, that constitute its response to the growing problem of childhood obesity. As expected, there’s no form of fat or sugar tax and no clampdown on marketing of junk food to children. The Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan Voluntary codes and and education campaigns are … Read More

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Everest and groupthink: what went wrong

Peter Griffin Oct 19, 2015

There’s an excellent movie showing in cinemas at the moment that tells the story of an ill-fated 1996 Everest expedition that resulted in the death of expedition leader New Zealander Rob Hall as well as another  guide and two climbers who had paid up to US$65,000 each for the chance to make an attempt on the summit. Rob Hall Everest features breathtaking cinematography (try … Read More

Kiwi rocket scientist gets rare NASA honour

Peter Griffin Oct 13, 2015

His name adorns medals, roads and even a mountain. Now NASA has paid Kiwi rocket scientist, the late Sir William Pickering, a significant tribute, dedicating an auditorium at its iconic Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pickering’s name. In July a ceremony at JPL in Pasadena including staff, dignitaries, former JPL directors and Sir William’s daughter, Beth Pickering Mezitt, celebrated the naming of … Read More


Stunning images from the field

Peter Griffin Oct 08, 2015

Every year, NIWA runs a competition to choose the best photos taken by its scientists in the field. This year’s crop of photos is as impressive as ever. Scientific diver Crispin Middleton won the Our People section for a photography he calls “Toado Selfie.” Taken at the Poor Knights Marine Reserve, he is surrounded by panicked Starry Toado Pufferfish. These … Read More


Engineers and the pay gap

Peter Griffin Oct 08, 2015

The pay gap between men and women has grown to 11.8 per cent, two per cent up on a year ago according to Statistics New Zealand’s New Zealand Income Survey.  The median weekly wage overall is $621 before tax, up $26 on a year ago. For men, the average hourly wage rose 4.6 pert cent to $24.07. But for … Read More

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Discovering planets… from your couch

Peter Griffin Oct 07, 2015

It was about 25 minutes into Chris Lintott’s Royal Society lecture that the proceedings nearly went off the rails. Professor Chris Lintott An audience member put his hand up to make a comment, which Lintott, Professor of Astrophysics and Citizen Science at the University of Oxford, paused his talk to answer. “I’ve seen that shape before,” said the grey-haired man in … Read More

Where our science investment is going

Peter Griffin Oct 05, 2015

The Government this morning released the National Statement of Science Investment 2015 – 2025, which lays out the priorities for investing government money in science and innovation over the next decade. I’ll leave analysis of the report to experts who the Science Media Centre has contacted for reaction which will be released later today. But regardless of whether … Read More


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