By Siouxsie Wiles 27/08/2015


From the 29th of August to the 4th of September, over 1,000 scientists will be descending on Queenstown for the annual Queenstown Research Week. And this year the public are invited!

In addition to the conferences the scientists will be attending comes a fantastic array of events for the public.

Hands on science

Otago University’s chemistry, physics, geology, microbiology, food science, zoology and physical education departments will be providing opportunities for kids to do real science with working scientists in their interactive workshops.

Question it!

In association with the Catalyst Trust and the NZ International Science Festival, the team behind the Queenstown Molecular Biology meeting have put on a huge range of public talks, panel discussions and Q&A’s covering loads of different topics:

  • Sex and Drugs (don’t need the rock ‘n’ roll): Emory University’s Dr Larry Young will tell us how “the love hormone” oxytocin and the possibilities of using it to treat psychiatric disorders, while Auckland University’s Associate Professor Michele Glass will talk about the effects of cannabinoids on the brain and body.
  • Ebola and Beyond – How Bugs Kill Us: I’ll be teaming up with Otago University’s Prof Kurt Krause and Massey University’s Prof Nigel French to answer all your burning questions on superbugs
  • Animated Science – the Family Show: I’ll be teaming up with TED talker and biomedical animator Drew Berry to show people how animation can be used to illuminate complex scientific issues.
  • The Science of Risk: Experts from the University of Otago’s Geology Department and Peter Bilious from Otago Polytechnic’s Cromwell Campus will look at some of the risks facing those who live, work and play in the Queenstown Lakes hinterland – like avalanches, earthquakes, climate and the natural environment.
  • Dining in the Dark: Experience a superb three course meal, brought to you by the Otago Polytechnic’s Cromwell hospitality team for a blind date with a difference!
  • The Brain on Drugs: Otago University’s Prof Brian Hyland will explain what makes us want to eat chocolate, Dr Shakila Rizwan will talk about finding ways to get the brain to absorb drugs for therapeutic purposes, while Associate Professor Christine Jasoni will discuss what happens when a mother uses drugs during pregnancy.
  • Science Mash Up: This Dragon’s Den style event will bring together senior high school students, scientists, community leaders and business people who will look at some of the future challenges for the Wakatipu. Small groups will look for ways to tackle some of the different issues that our community will be facing – from maintaining a clean green image and infrastructure, to energy use and changing climate patterns – before presenting their strategies to everyone.
  • The Science of Beer: Sup craft beers while hearing from the brewers how they make different styles, with the matching tasting plates from the Otago Polytechnic’s Cromwell hospitality crew, all while Otago University’s food science team explain why different food tastes good with different beers.
  • Sugar, sugar everywhere but which ones are safe to eat ? Auckland University’s Prof Peter Shepherd will demystify the science behind the many different types of sugar that we have in our diet and the problems sugar causes for our body.
  • Genetic Engineering – What and Who Is It Good for? A panel discussion featuring leading New Zealand experts, who will discuss a range of scientific, economic, medical and agricultural aspects of GE and GMOs and the relevance of this to New Zealand.

All details of how to book are available here.