Science and Technology Alert: Issue 44


Applications are sought for the 1999 R. H. T. Bates Postgraduate Scholarship which is tenable at any New Zealand University and is available to graduates who are registered for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Applicants must have physical sciences or engineering as a significant part of their undergraduate degree. At the time of application students must be engaged in postgraduate studies (honours, masters or doctorate). Students in their final year of undergraduate study are ineligible to apply.

A single award of $5,000 is offered for one year in 1999. The closing date for applications is 16 November 1998.

Electronic copies of information and application forms are available from Copies are also available on the Society’s website


Applications are sought from students who are registered for PhD degrees in science and/or technology at New Zealand universities to attend their first overseas scientific conference. Due to limited funding, preference will be given to applicants who have received their secondary schooling and the majority of their tertiary qualifications in New Zealand. Grants to individual scientists are unlikely to exceed $1,000. Applications close on 1 March and 1 October each year.

Electronic copies of information and application forms are available from


The Royal Society has arranged for Marsden research funding for the current year to be announced by the Minister of Research, Science and Technology, The Hon Maurice Williamson, at a function to be held in Auckland on 11 September. Members of the commercial and industrial community, representatives of local government and Members and Fellows of the Society will attend and speakers will include Professor Neil Ashcroft Hon FRSNZ, from Cornell UInversity and Dr Jeff Tallon FRSNZ of IRL who is currently on a James Cook Senior Research Fellowship. Selected recipients of Marsden funding will speak on their research and its value. The President of the Royal Society, Sir John Scott FRSNZ will host the occasion.


At the recent Annual General Meeting of the Association of Crown Research Institutes (ACRI), Dr Ian Warrington FRSNZ, Chief Executive of HortResearch, was elected Chairman to succeed Mr Paul Hargreaves, Chief Executive, National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA).


The Hudson Lecture is the premier occasion in the calendar of Science Wellington (formerly the Royal Society’s Wellington Branch). On Wednesday of this week the 50th lecture was held with Dr Jeff Tallon FRSNZ as lecturer. Dr Tallon is currently a Cook Senior Research Fellow and a distinguished scientist at Industrial Research Limited (IRL). He spoke on ‘High temperature superconductors – daybreak on a sunrise technology?’ to a capacity audience. At the beginning and end of the scientific core of the lecture, Dr Tallon made some pertinent observations on the history of the lectureship and the current science scene. The full text of this part of Dr Tallon’s address will be available on our website from Monday.


After a brief hiatus in publishing, the New Zealand Computer Society reports that the New Zealand Journal of Computing is being re-launched, and the next issue (volume 7/1) will appear in January, 1999. Articles and papers for publication in the Journal are sought.

The Computer Society aims to produce a publication which includes, broadly, two sorts of items:

(1) articles, which report on events, give information about research projects, or talk generally about items of interest to the computer science community. These articles will be vetted for relevance, standards of presentation, etc, but will not be subjected to the usual peer review process expected of academic writing. We particularly encourage the submission of brief tutorial articles on your field of expertise. Think of this section as your opportunity within the New Zealand community to publicise your accomplishments and raise interest in your field;

(2) research papers, which will be peer-reviewed to the usual international standards and which should report the results of research projects which have a particular relevance to a New Zealand computer science audience. The results of scientifically conducted surveys within New Zealand, which may not be of interest to those in other countries, would make a good subject for such a paper.

By including these two classes the Computer Society hopes to produce a Journal which has a wide readership and a wide set of contributors.

The deadline for contributions to the next edition (Volume 7/1) is 30 November 1998. The expected publication date is January 1999.

Information on formats and method for submission is given on


The 1999 Women in Science Conference entitled ‘Living science’ will be held in Dunedin from 30 June to 2 July 1999.

The conference, for women by women, will have a mixture of keynote speakers and parallel sessions to enable many people to communicate on many fronts.

Invited speakers include:

  • Nancy Lane, Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge, England;
  • Anita Borg, Founding Director, Xerox PARC Institute for Women and Technology;
  • Helen Anderson, Chief Science Adviser, Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, Wellington;
  • Christine Rimene, Ngai Tahu Health Research;
  • Rosalind Gibson, Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Otago;
  • Gretchen Kivell, first woman President of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Engineers;
  • Linda Holloway, Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Health Sciences Division, University of Otago.

For further information contact Helen Hancox. Her email address is:

There is now an on-line site for expressions of interest at:


Travel grants are available for New Zealand scientists wishing to attend the 5th ASEAN Science & Technology Week (ASTW).

The ASTW is a triennial event aimed at promoting greater awareness of science and technology development and application within and outside ASEAN’s members (Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam).

The event is being planned by the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology, and its theme is ‘Science and Technology: A Dynamic Force Towards Sustainable Development in ASEAN’. The Week will include meetings of the ASEAN COST (Committee on Science & Technology) and its subcommittees, an exhibition, S&T awards, and scientific conferences in each sub-committee area. The conferences are for ‘information exchange, professional contacts and promotion of regional cooperation in S&T within the region and elsewhere’ and their themes are as follows:

  • Food Science & Technology: ‘Technology Development for Small and Medium Enterprises in the Food Industry’;
  • Meteorology and Geophysics: ‘Meteorology and Geophysics for Mitigation of Natural Disasters’;
  • Biotechnology: ‘Biotechnology for Development of an Ecological and Sustainable Agriculture’;
  • Marine Science: ‘Marine S&T Towards Sustainable Development in ASEAN’;
  • Microelectronics & Information Technology: ‘Microelectronics and Information Technology – a Tool for Building Competitive Edge in the 21st Century’;
  • Non-Conventional Energy Research: ‘Research and Utilisation of Non-Conventional Energy for Sustainable Development in ASEAN’;
  • Materials S&T: ‘Advanced Materials – Improving Quality of Life in ASEAN Countries’;
  • S&T Infrastructure and Resource Development: ‘S&T Framework and Mechanism for Sustainable Economic Growth of ASEAN’.

You would not be required to present a paper, but a report would be required on return to New Zealand.

If you are interested in applying for travel assistance, your proposal should outline:

  1. your agency’s strategy for links with ASEAN S&T agencies;
  2. your existing/current links with ASEAN S&T agencies;
  3. what skills and experience you plan to share with ASEAN counterparts; and
  4. your credentials to represent New Zealand at the Week

The selection criteria will include:

  • evidence of a long-term strategy encouraging links between your organisation and counterparts in ASEAN;
  • evidence of a credible follow-up strategy; and
  • likely benefits to New Zealand from your involvement.

Please forward your application to: Angela Clark, Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, PO Box 5336, Wellington, E-mail

The deadline is 9 September 1998.


This is the second call for expressions of interest (science writers):

Antarctica New Zealand and The Royal Society of New Zealand are managing the production of a state of the environment report for the Ross Sea Region.

Expressions of interest are invited from New Zealand scientists to contribute to the Report. Writers are required for the following sections of the report which will document the ‘state’ or ‘health’ of the environment in each area based on available data and information: glaciers and ice shelves; lakes and streams; ice free areas; coastal waters; air; and atmosphere.

All written contributions will undergo peer review. Technical support will also be available to contributors as required. Writers will be required to produce the first draft of their section by April 1999. Expressions of interest, including a recent short CV, should be received by 18 September 1998 and can be sent to: Emma Waterhouse, Antarctica New Zealand, Private Bag 4745, Christchurch, New Zealand. Fax: (03) 358 0211 Email:

Those who responded to the earlier call for expressions of interest need not do so again as their interest has been noted.

RSR SOER Background Information

The Ross Sea Region State of the Environment Report was announced as a New Zealand initiative at Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting XXI in Christchurch in May 1997. The report aims to benchmark the state of our knowledge about the Ross Sea Region, to document current and potential threats to its values and to identify appropriate responses to protect these values.

The report will assist in New Zealand’s implementation of the Environmental Protocol and serve to demonstrate and enhance New Zealand’s stewardship of the Ross Dependency. It will focus on the atmosphere, terrestrial and marine environments of the Ross Sea Region. Contributions are planned from the New Zealand and international science communities and other relevant experts. The report will be published by 1 December 2000, in hard copy and electronic form.

An Executive Committee, with members drawn from Antarctica New Zealand and the Royal Society of New Zealand, will oversee the production of the report. The two organisations have appointed Emma Whitehouse of Antarctica New Zealand as project manager.


Eleven New Zealand students and teachers Tania Lineham and Paul Lowe returned this week from a highly successful participation in the first APEC Youth Science Festival held in Seoul, Korea. The students, all of whom were successful participants in the ECNZ Science and Technology Fair and/or the CREST programme, displayed their work at the Festival as well as taking part in a wide- ranging programme of scientific and cultural activities.


The Royal Society is delighted to report that ECNZ has renewed the Science and Technology Fairs sponsorship arrangement with the Society for 1999. This is because the Government’s final decision on the split of ECNZ into three will not occur until December 1998, and the contract renewal needs to be resolved now. This decision puts the Science and Technology Fairs contract on the same basis as ECNZ’s two other major sponsorships (ballet and rowing) and ensures these contracts will be treated equitably.


The response to the call for applications for NZ Science and Technology Teacher Fellowships this year has been very pleasing. The Royal Society received 53 applications for 1999 Fellowships. Selection took place this week and the successful applicants will be advised by next Friday, 5 September. The selection panel were impressed by the high quality of the applications.

It is heartening to see the increased interest in this scheme and the increase in the breadth of areas covered, but disappointing that so few applications are being received from teachers of mathematics. We hope that in the future maths teachers will take advantage of this valuable professional development opportunity.


This innovative service provides accurate and up-to-date information on scientific issues such as Sun and Skin – a dangerous combination, Enhanced greenhouse effect – a hot international topic, and El nino/La nina.

NOVA can be used by teachers planning lessons, students doing homework or projects, parents helping their children, journalists researching stories, librarians answering reference queries and anyone who wants to keep up to date with topical issues in the world of science. There are now 8 topics on the website

NOVA is a collaborative project between the Australian Academy of Science and the Royal Society of New Zealand. The Society adapts articles written by Australians to include useful websites, New Zealand research, and New Zealand information, and articles written by New Zealanders are similarly adapted for Australian use.

Further topics will be added regularly – Science Alert will advise you as they are put online. Feedback is invited; email


The Ocean Drilling Program sponsors an international partnership of scientists and governments to explore Earth’s structure and history beneath the sea floor.

Leg 181 – JOIDES Resolution at site 1C and drilling – is now in progress and Dr Bruce Hayward, a James Cook Research Fellow, is taking part in this drilling program currently off-shore 50 km east of Timaru.

Check out some of the drilling technology at:

An associated site:

and the advanced piston corer at:

Dr Hayward says the fauna seen so far are beautiful – rich, extremely well-preserved, and young.


NZ Science and Technology Teacher Fellow Bu Windsor set sail aboard the ‘RV Tangaroa’ last weekend. Check out what she’s has been up to on



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This is the last Science Alert with which Dr Jaap Jasperse has been associated, as IT Co-ordinator at RSNZ. Contact email