Infrequently Asked Questions

Miraculous Manuka

Lynley Hargreaves Apr 15, 2015

Cliff Van Eaton Manuka honey – which at one time beekeepers literally gave away – is now bringing such fantastic prices that plans are afoot to create large-scale manuka plantations, and young people around the country are taking up hives and veils. Beekeeping specialist Cliff Van Eaton – whose fascinating account of how manuka honey became a New Zealand … Read More

Turing machines, coin tosses and internet security

Lynley Hargreaves Apr 01, 2015

Professor Rod Downey The movie The Imitation Game tells the story – albeit not very accurately – of Alan Turing and the WWII code breakers of Bletchley Park. But Alan Turing should be most famous, says Victoria University of Wellington’s Professor Rod Downey, for an entirely hypothetical device called the Turing Machine, invented to disprove an obscure problem in … Read More

'Take scientific risks' – Nobel Laureates

Lynley Hargreaves Mar 18, 2015

Holly van der Salm Prize-winning scientists at an international meeting all gave similar advice, says New Zealand attendee Holly van der Salm – don’t just be a specialist, don’t be afraid to take risks, and go where the exciting science is. A University of Otago PhD candidate, Ms van der Salm now has new books on her bedside table … Read More

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Diabetes – the long road of discovery

Lynley Hargreaves Mar 08, 2015

Professor Frances Ashcroft Late one night in 1984, Frances Ashcroft found a key link between the blood sugar level in your body and insulin secretion. That discovery helped transform the lives of those with a rare inherited form of diabetes. The Oxford-based Royal Society Research Professor is in New Zealand this month, speaking about electricity in our cells, the … Read More

Student – cow trampling increases nitrate leaching

Lynley Hargreaves Feb 18, 2015

Kyle Roberston It’s 2015, the International Year of Soils, and eighteen-year-old Kyle Robertson has been doing his bit for New Zealand dirt. By squashing soil with a press and pouring fake cow pee on top, the former Palmerston North Boys’ High School student has modelled the effect of cow trampling on nitrate leaching, with some surprising results. He explains … Read More

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Future proofing our pastures against drought

Lynley Hargreaves Feb 11, 2015

Minushika Punchihewa New Zealand may have escaped another official declaration of drought, but climate-change forecasts make dry periods more likely. Good news, then, that a New Zealand high school student has helped improve the drought-resistance of future pastures. Former Palmerston North Girls’ High School student Minushika Punchihewa explains her Gold CREST research that ensures successful cross-breeding just by looking … Read More

Sediment success – our expanding mangrove forests

Lynley Hargreaves Jan 28, 2015

With World Wetland Day next Monday, celebrate the most successful of New Zealand wetland types – the mangrove. While we’ve lost 90 percent of our swamps and bogs, the area covered by our only salt water tree has been expanding, driving many bach owners and other recreational beach users crazy. The University of Waikato’s Associate Professor Karin Bryan and co-principal … Read More

At the beach? Meet global warming’s evil twin

Lynley Hargreaves Jan 15, 2015

Kina, or New Zealand sea urchin One third of our carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by the world’s oceans, which increases the acidity of the water and affects marine life. The University of Auckland’s Associate Professor Mary Sewell looks into the impacts on kina, or the New Zealand sea urchin, and how their fertilisation, early development and metabolism change. Read More

Ask Facebook: how drunk were you last night?

Lynley Hargreaves Dec 31, 2014

Professor Antonia Lyons Feeling the after effects of a big New Years Eve? Then consider the role social media had to play. Massey University’s Professor Antonia Lyons and her team have studied young adults’ drinking and social media use. They found an airbrushed drinking culture with insidious alcohol marketing acting in ‘friend’ relationships. She explains why it matters that … Read More

Peacekeeping in the Pacific begins at home

Lynley Hargreaves Dec 17, 2014

Dr Steven RatuvaThe last decade in the Pacific has brought civil wars, riots, and a military coup. In coming years, regional stability is likely to be complicated by increasing interest from China. The University of Auckland’s Dr Steven Ratuva investigates the traditional, community-based ways of solving problems that are strongly adhered to still. Sometimes, these can be effective in … Read More

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