Alert Newsletter: 672

1. “Living with Oxygen’ by Professor Christine Winterbourn, Palmerston North, 7.30 pm, 28 June, a lecture in the Marie Curie Series

Professor Winterbourn’s talk will discuss the good and the bad aspects of the biological chemistry of free radicals. “Oxygen is vital for life. During respiration we harness the energy released when it is converted to water and use it to drive chemical synthesis, movement, brain activity and maintenance of cell function. However, some of the oxygen is only partially reduced and is released as hydrogen peroxide and free radicals. These are reactive and biologically damaging species, and the only reason we can survive is that we have an elaborate array of antioxidant defences to handle them. Free radicals are generated in a wide array of biological processes. In some cases this is associated with toxicity, however, the body also makes use of these toxic species by generating them in white blood cells for the purpose of killing bacteria and protecting against infection.”

Professor Christine Winterbourn has a personal chair in the Pathology Department, University of Otago, Christchurch, where she directs a Health Research Council Programme. The venue for this lecture is the Speirs Centre, Palmerston North Boy’s High School, Featherston Street, Palmerston North.

This is the next lecture in the Marie Curie Lecture Series from the Royal Society of New Zealand. These lectures are free and open to the public. For more information or 04 4705770. For the schedule visit

2. Queen’s Birthday Honours list June 2011

Congratulations to Professor Warren Tate FRSNZ who was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, ‘for services to science’. He was the Rutherford Medal winner in 2010.

3. Latest Royal Society of New Zealand journals available

The latest issues of the science journals published by the Royal Society of New Zealand are now available online. To read about some of the articles featured

4. 2011 New Zealand Aronui Lecture Series – Professor Norman Hammond

In August 2011 Professor Norman Hammond, a world expert in the ancient Maya civilisation in Central America, will be visiting New Zealand to present the 2011 New Zealand Aronui Lecture. Professor Hammond holds positions at Boston, Harvard and Cambridge universities and is the archaeology correspondent for The Times newspaper.Read more about Professor Hammond.

Times and dates will be advertised shortly.

5. FUSIONZ Science Jobs

This week, Fusionz has 2 vacancies for jobs. The latest jobs are:

  • Ion Beam Scientist: Wellington
  • Application Scientist – Sales: Dunedin

For more information and to list your vacancy visit

6. Exploring the Universe – Square Kilometre Array, Otago Museum, 6pm, 9 June

A global science project as big as the Hubble telescope or Hadron collider, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is under development, and New Zealand is on the short list to host it. Imagine a series of telescopes so sensitive that scientists can see galaxies created tens of billions of years in the past. The SKA project is a huge advancement in astronomical technology predicted to increase our understanding of space and the creation of the universe.

Join Radio Astronomer Dr Melanie Johnston-Hollitt as she explains and discusses the applications and opportunities this project has globally for science, and industrially for New Zealand.  This is a free event being held in the Barclay Theatre at Otago Museum. For more information go to

7. “How we got the Beehive and Buzzing round the Beehive: MMP and its Alternatives”, 5.30 pm, 28 June, Auckland

Victoria University of Wellington invites you to a free public lecture by Dr Robin Skinner from the School of Architecture and Adjunct Professor Nigel Roberts from the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations.

Robin will reveal an intimate and surprising insight into the architectural and political scene in 60s New Zealand and Nigel, an expert on electoral systems, will examine how different voting systems work.

The event will run from 5.30pm – 8.00pm at the Quality Hotel Barrycourt, Gladstone Road, Parnell. Refreshments will be served at 6.30 pm between the two parts of the lecture. If you would like to attend, please email with ‘Beehive’ in the subject line or phone 04-463 6700 by Friday 24 June.

8. NZIFST Conference, Rotorua, 29 June – 1 July

Registrations are open for the NZ Institute of Food Science and Technology Conference. The role of New Zealand as an exporter of quality food products and expertise will be thoroughly explored, led by high profile keynote speakers including Professor David Hughes – Imperial College, London; Professor Jacqueline Rowarth – Massey University; David Irving – The Icehouse; and Dame Cheryll Sotheran – NZTE. Find out more

9. New Zealand Innovators Awards, open for entries

Entries are now open for the New Zealand Innovators Awards – designed to celebrate and recognise great kiwi innovations, inventors and organisations that have invested in developing new products, services and ventures as well as improving the performance of people and teams. You may be part of a large organisation developing new products and services, you may be a small marketing based organisation or a small creative team. Find out more at

11. Association of Women in Science, 28-29 July, SkyCity, Auckland

The sixth triennial Association for Women in the Sciences (AWIS) conference is taking place on 28-29 July at SkyCity Auckland. The conference is designed to provide a forum for women working in research, business and education or studying science to learn from other women working in the New Zealand science industry. The conference programme will include keynotes and panel discussions with women who are leaders in their fields, workshops for career and personal development, as well as sessions to discuss some of the key scientific issues facing us in the 21st Century and opportunities to network with other women working in the New Zealand science industry.

Highlights of the conference include:

  • Keynote from Olympic cyclist Sarah Ulmer
  • Evening networking function at Kelly Tarlton’s
  • Inspiring Women breakfast
  • Announcement of the Women in Science Entrepreneurship award winner

More information can be found on the website at Entries are still being accepted for the Women in Science Entrepreneurship award, an opportunity to win $50,000 of incubation time at Pacific Channel to get your business idea off the ground. More information can be found at or

11. Meterological Society annual conference, Nelson, 14 – 15 November

The Meteorological Society of New Zealand holds an annual conference for the purpose of sharing meteorological information, new developments and views. This year it will be held in Nelson, New Zealand, on 14-15 November 2011, with the general theme ‘Weather and Climate’, and will coincide with the Society’s AGM. The keynote speaker is Glenn McGregor (Director of the School of Environment, The University of Auckland). More detailed information on this conference will be announced soon on the Society’s website

12. Social science research methods courses, July, Auckland

The New Zealand Social Statistics Network (NZSSN) is offering five-day and two-day courses in social science research methods, 11–15 July 2011. The courses take place at The University of Auckland’s Business School. For more information and to enrol Early bird closing date is Friday 10 June.

13. Scientist for a Day applications closing soon, 30 June

Industrial Research Ltd (IRL) is offering the services of some of its world-class scientists and engineers as part of an innovative programme aimed at demonstrating the benefits of research and development (R&D) to New Zealand businesses. IRL’s Scientist for a Day initiative is designed to encourage New Zealand businesses to think about what R&D can do for them, and whether their current R&D is focused in the right areas.

From August until 23 December, IRL experts will engage with qualifying New Zealand businesses in a hands-on and face-to-face technical interaction at no cost, either at the business’s location or at an IRL laboratory. Following that interaction IRL can provide a report highlighting fresh ideas and opportunities to improve quality, efficiency and/or differentiation. The initial visit can focus on anything: an existing problem, analysing and improving a product or process, developing an opportunity, evaluating the potential for innovation, or any other specific, well-defined idea.

If your business operates in an area where IRL’s research or services could be helpful, don’t delay – apply now. It’s not too late to take advantage of this unique opportunity, but the deadline of 30 June 2011 is coming up fast and there are a limited number of appointments available.  To find out more about the programme and to apply, visit the website, email, or phone 0508 CALL IRL (0508 2255 475).

14. Our Changing World, Tonight 9.00 pm, Radio New Zealand National

Alison Ballance, Ruth Beran and Veronika Meduna, Tel (04) 474 1910.

Eating protein after strenuous exercise can improve athletic performance in men. But what about women? Massey University’s Stuart Houltham and David Rowlands are finding that when it comes to protein and exercise, men and women are not created equal.

Environmental geochemist Chris Hendy at the University of Waikato explains to Alison Ballance how organic sediments form in the deep silica-rich lakes of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, and how his research has uncovered a new process of denitrification capable of taking place in anaerobic conditions.

Like fibreglass, most composites use a resin derived from petrochemicals to hold them together, but University of Canterbury’s Mark Staiger and Tim Huber are working on biocomposites made completely from a renewable resource, cellulose.

Rip currents are a common cause of drownings at beaches, but what causes them to form and are they predictable? Karin Bryan at the University of Waikato and NIWA’s Giovanni Coco talk to Alison Ballance about findings from a ten year analysis of images taken by a remote camera overlooking Tairua Beach in the Coromandel.

Shorter science, health and environment features also air during Afternoons with Jim Mora at 3.45 p.m., Monday to Thursday. The programme is repeated at 1.10 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

You can download a podcast or listen to streaming audio of programmes you’ve missed in the complete programme archive at: