Infrequently Asked Questions

Where will all the people go?

Lynley Hargreaves Jul 23, 2015

Professor Richard Bedford Sea level will rise, mosquitoes will likely carry dengue fever and malaria, and drought may damage dairy farming. But climate change is not going to be as devastating in New Zealand as in other parts of the world, says Auckland University of Technology’s Professor Richard Bedford. The first social scientist to lead the Royal Society … Read More

Is our flag a brand?

Lynley Hargreaves Jun 29, 2015

If you’ve felt uneasy about the new flag debate, this might be why. A flag, says a University of Auckland geographer, is supposed to be something that defines us as a people in our place, not an exercise in market branding. After a prestigious Marsden Grant looking at the development of Brand New Zealand, Associate Professor Nick Lewis says that … Read More

Data mining medical trials – a 'game changer'

Lynley Hargreaves Jun 10, 2015

Associate Professor Suetonia Palmer Diabetic? Got heart disease? Which blood pressure treatment will help you most? With hundreds of thousands of medical trials to wade through, even your doctor might not know. But in a paper in the Lancet medical journal published recently, University of Otago Associate Professor Suetonia Palmer, as part of a worldwide team, uses a new … Read More

Tangata Whenua – changing science, changing history

Lynley Hargreaves May 27, 2015

Climate science may be fundamentally changing our view of how humans settled New Zealand and of how pre-European Māori culture changed. Australian National University Emeritus Professor Atholl Anderson FRSNZ tells us how science as a whole is an important part of Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History, which charts Māori history from ancient origins to the 21st century. Read More

Wonderful dolphins, still lacking protection

Lynley Hargreaves May 14, 2015

Raewyn Peart When asked for legal assistance for dolphins, New Zealand’s Environmental Defence Society policy director Raewyn Peart was unable to help. But although the group couldn’t join a court case in which the fishing industry was challenging new regulations, Raewyn was so taken by the stories and science that she wrote Dolphins of Aotearoa, now a finalist in … Read More

Science, Poetry & Responsibility

Lynley Hargreaves Apr 29, 2015

The front cover of Gathering Evidence The dissection of football-sized hailstones, the role of Newton’s first law of motion in long-distance cycling, and the ethics of some twenty tons of one woman’s cells posthumously grown in laboratories all feature in Caoilinn Hughes’ poetry book, Gathering Evidence, a finalist for the 2015 Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize. Read More

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