Alert Newsletter 711

1. 2012 Elections for Royal Society of New Zealand Council

Elections for three positions on the Royal Society of New Zealand Council will be held by electronic ballot in May 2012. The positions are those of the Vice-President (Biological and Life Sciences); and two Elected Councillors. Postal voting will be available for those who cannot vote on line.

Eligible members will receive voting papers in mid May for the positions in which they are eligible to vote, by virtue of class of membership in a particular Electoral College as indicated on joining or election to the Society.

We encourage all eligible Members to take part in the elections. Nominations must be submitted, by 5 pm on Friday 27 April 2012, on the prescribed nomination form. Further information on the Election process, and nomination forms, are available from our website:

2. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science – special section on Psa

The New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science, published four times a year by the Royal Society of New Zealand in partnership with Taylor & Francis, is proposing to run an ongoing special section of the journal devoted to Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa) over the coming 18-24 months. We welcome either short communications of 2000-3000 words outlining initial research findings or full research or review manuscripts of approximately 5000+ words. All submissions should be sent to the journal using the ScholarOne submission centre

Subject areas for potential coverage are, but not limited to:

  • Resistant cultivars
  • Biology and lifecycle of Psa
  • Biosecurity
  • Diagnostic tools
  • Psa management

This special section will be coordinated by Nick Gould of Plant and Food Research and all enquiries about potential submissions should be directed to him in the first instance

Any queries regarding the online submission and review process for the journal using the ScholarOne system should be sent to

3. Nelson Science Society presents Mike Johnston on Hochstetter, 17 April, Nelson

The Nelson Science Society presents Mike Johnston on Ferdinand von Hochstetter, at 7.30pm, Tuesday, April 17 at NMIT building A 211, entrance off the carpark in Alton St. Non-members $2 please.

Hochstetter (1829-1884), a German geologist on the Austrian research frigate Novara, spent nine months in New Zealand from late 1858. His work in Auckland and Nelson has led him to be known as the “Father of New Zealand Geology”. His interests were broad ranging: from collecting enigmatic plant fossils to appraising the gold and copper deposits in Nelson.

Speaker Mike Johnston is a geologist based in Nelson and is involved in extensive geological mapping of the north of the South Island as well as assessing geohazards. In conjunction with his geological work, he has written a number of histories of mining in the top of the south, including recently an account of Hochstetter’s travels in New Zealand.

4. Royal Society of New Zealand Manawatu Branch lecture, 17 April, Palmerston North

Jessie McKenzie, Teaching and Learning Specialist at the Royal Society of New Zealand, will speak on the Royal Society of New Zealand’s education programmes at 7:30 pm on Tuesday 17 April, at Te Manawa Art Gallery, 326 Main Street, Palmerston North. Visitors welcome. Details

5. Mind Reading? The science of imaging the brain – watch the event online

The technology of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging enables scientists to see brain areas ‘light up’ as we think. Movements, emotions, memories and intentions have all been visualised, enabling scientists to see inside a person’s mind, and possibly predict the future. Yet how much is science, and how much is fiction?

Featuring live analysis of a brain scan, ‘Mind Reading?’ was a first for New Zealand. Imaging scientists Associate Professor Brett Cowan and Dr Donna Rose Addis from The University of Auckland showcased the possibilities of MRI and provided a behind the scenes glimpse of cutting-edge brain research.

Watch the event as it unfolded on the night. Could the scientists detect the difference between a truth and a lie? View the event online

6. Solar Viewers suitable for observing the Transit of Venus now available

The Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand has sourced a supply of viewers that will be ideal for viewing the Transit of Venus that will take place, and be visible from New Zealand weather permitting, on 6 June 2012.

These viewers have been safety tested by one of the world’s leading authorities on solar viewing devices and provide full eye protection when observing the Sun directly. Note that the viewer should not be used in conjunction with any optical device such as telescope, binoculars, camera etc.

During the transit, Venus is of sufficient apparent diameter to be able to be seen by eye through the filter. Later in the year an eclipse of the Sun will occur and the viewer will also provide a safe and easy way to observe this event. Each viewer is supplied with an information sheet about these two events.

Orders for Solar Viewers can be placed at

7. New Zealand Institute of Forestry 2012 Conference, 1–4 July, Christchurch – update

NZIF are excited to launch the NZIF 2012 Conference Brochure. The brochure is your guide to the conference programme which includes the latest industry topics, international speakers, field trips, networking opportunities and much more.

To download a copy of the Conference Brochure click here (Note the brochure is 3 Mb in size).

8. FUSIONZ website for science, technology, humanities jobs

This week, Fusionz has 5 vacancies for jobs. The latest jobs are:

  • Publications Coordinator: Royal Society of New Zealand, Wellington
  • Public Lead, Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand: Royal Society of New Zealand, Wellington
  • Postdoctoral Fellow: University of Otago, Christchurch
  • Scientist – Fisheries Acoustics : NIWA, Wellington
  • PhD Opportunities for 2012: University of Otago, International

For more information and to list your vacancy –

9. Cawthron appoints Professor Charles Eason as Chief Executive

Professor Charles Eason, a former senior manager with Landcare Research and a Professor at Lincoln University, has recently been announced as the new Chief Executive of Cawthron Institute. He will take up the position at the beginning of June.

Professor Eason has held research and senior management positions in multi-national pharmaceutical companies and, in New Zealand, in a Crown Research Institute, a university and a manufacturing business. He has led research groups in fields ranging from drug design to urban design, catchment management, conservation and product development.

10. NZ Climate Change Research Institute Seminar Series – 11 April, Wellington

Leviathan in the greenhouse: can we solve climate change without extending the state? – a seminar delivered by Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics group at the University of Oxford’s Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department.

Climate change is often presented as the ultimate challenge for collective action. Myles Allen will argue that almost all of the measures currently proposed to “stop climate change” will do nothing of the kind, because they focus on reducing the rate of flow of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, while the risk of dangerous climate change is primarily determined by the total stock of fossil carbon released over the entire ‘anthropocene’. Ensuring the net flux of carbon out of the ground is reduced to zero before we release too much into the atmosphere, through a massive increase in carbon capture and storage, is a formidable technical challenge that only the global fossil fuel industry has the resources and knowhow to meet, so the sooner they are simply told to get on with it the better.

Date: Wednesday 11th April 2012
Time: 12.30 – 1.30 pm

Venue: Victoria University of Wellington, Rutherford House, Lecture Theatre 2

11. “Science in the City” – CRI Open Day, 12 April, The Cloud, Auckland

Government scientists will show the Auckland community how their science benefits all New Zealanders. The Crown Research Institutes are inviting the public to an open day and exhibition at The Cloud, Queens Wharf, Auckland, on Thursday 12 April, in a unique opportunity to see how key research and technology institutes are helping to answer the world’s science questions.

Sir Peter Gluckman will give a keynote address at 5:30pm as part of the event at The Cloud. His keynote address is open to the public. Throughout the day there will also be public lectures by inspirational scientists talking about their work in the Hauraki Gulf, Antarctica and on great white sharks. The public will also get a unique chance to see New Zealand’s premier research vessel Tangaroa, which will be berthed at Queens Wharf from Wednesday 11 April until Saturday 14 April.

Along with CRIs –AgResearch, ESR, Industrial Research Limited, Landcare Research, NIWA, Plant and Food Research, and SCION – exhibitors will include Auckland Museum, Our Far South and the Hauraki Gulf Forum.

12. Carter Observatory – activities at the Observatory in April (Wellington)

Inspire yourself with a visit to Carter during their special week of late nights starting on 8 April and running through until 14 April, with planetarium shows at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm. If the weather is kind, we’ll have telescope viewing using our historic Thomas Cooke Refractor.

Popular gallery trails and competition will run during the school holidays (starting 6 April) with children using their creative talents to design a mission patch inspired by the Kiwi crew heading to the Mars Desert Research Station later this month. 

On April 18, you’re invited to hear Dave Mclennan, President of the NZ Spaceflight Association, give a talk about the Cassini mission to Saturn.  This has been one of the greatest space exploration success stories and Dave will share some of the highlights.  Doors open from 6.30pm and the talk starts at 7pm.

All the events listed above are at normal admission prices: $18.50 adults, $13.50 for concessions, $8 for children (4-16 years). Family passes and Star Pass memberships are available as well.  Sign up for your Star Pass while you’re at Carter and we will credit the cost of your admission to your Star Pass (applies to full price admission only). Details

13. Call for Nominations for the 2013 HFSP Nakasone Award

May 4 2012 is the deadline for nominations for the 2013 Human Frontiers Science Programme Nakasone Award. The HFSP Nakasone Award is designed to honour scientists who have undertaken frontier-moving research in biology, encompassing conceptual, experimental or technological breakthroughs. Both senior and junior scientists are eligible and peer-recognised excellence is the major criterion for selection. However the jury will pay particular attention to recent breakthroughs by younger scientists.

Detailed information is available on the HFSP web site at, where the nomination form may be downloaded.

14. Nominations for the 2012 L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowships close 1 May

Each year since 2007, L’Oréal Australia has offered three Fellowships to help early-career women scientists consolidate their careers and rise to leadership positions in science.

This year the three Fellowships increase in value to $25,000 each and for the first time they are open to New Zealanders. If you know any eligible, high-achieving women scientists, please encourage them to apply. Nominations are open now and close 1 May.

The one-year Fellowships can be used to help finance the scientific research of the Fellows, including equipment, reagents, consumables, travel expenses and conferences. The Fellowship may also be used for child care or hiring a research assistant to cover maternity leave.

To get a sense of the qualities expected of entrants into this highly competitive Fellowship, we encourage potential applicants to read the brief profiles of past recipients

Information on how to apply is online at Applications close at midnight on Tuesday 1 May 2012 and will only be accepted via the online form. Contact Niall Byrne at with any queries.

15. Philosophy Course – Continuing Education, VUW, Wellington, 5 May

The death of God and the meaning of life: Galileo and Newton struggle with truth and inaugurate the modern era. This one-day weekend seminar provides participants with an opportunity to discuss our era and those who defined it. It draws upon the work of Newton, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Heelan. This course is for anyone with an interest in philosophy.

When: 9:30am–4:30pm, Saturday 5 May
Fee: Fee $70 ($63)
Course code: 12C011A

This one-day weekend seminar comprises two, three-hour sessions. Each topic includes an introductory lecture followed by group discussion. For details and to enrol

16. A Universe from Nothing – Auckland Writers & Readers Festival, 11 May

The Auckland Writers& Readers Festival presents:

FRIDAY MAY 11 – 5.30-6.30PM

In the mere span of a human lifetime, our understanding of the universe has changed completely. Celebrated prize-winning scientist, public intellectual and accomplished speaker Professor Lawrence Krauss is one of the leading figures in this golden age of cosmology. Currently based at the Arizona State University, he is the author of The Physics of Star Trek (1995), Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science (2010) and, most recently, the New York Times bestseller A Universe from Nothing (2011). Krauss speaks with Dr Grant Christie about the big bang, the expanding universe, the rich and mysterious world of cosmology and our place on the sidelines.

To book:

Earlybird tickets: $20; students $12.50

17. Our Changing World, Thursday 5 April, 9.00 pm, Radio New Zealand National 101FM

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

With the aid of advanced functional MRI scanners, scientists are getting closer to being able to read your mind. Brett Cowan from the Centre for Advanced MRI and cognitive neuroscientist Donna Rose Addis from the University of Auckland demonstrate the potential, and the limitations, of this technology.

In part two of the four-part BBC Discovery ‘Global Body’ series on how the modern world is affecting our biology, the ABC’s Lynne Malcolm investigates the impact of urban migration in Manila.

When Chris and Brian Rance began growing native plants on their Otatara property, near Invercargill, they didn’t realise it would become an award-winning community nursery. Alison Ballance heads to the Southland community nursery to meet some of the plants and people.

You can download our podcasts or listen to streaming audio of programmes in our complete programme archive at:

You can also follow us on Twitter @RNZ_Science

Two of our science and environment stories air during the week on Afternoons with Jim Mora at 3:35pm, Monday and Thursday. The complete programme is repeated at 1:10am on Sunday mornings.

18. Follow the Royal Society of New Zealand on Facebook and Twitter

Get timely updates from the Royal Society of New Zealand team via our Facebook and Twitter (@royalsocietynz) channels.



Please forward the Royal Society of New Zealand Alert newsletter to any non-subscriber to whom the material may be relevant and who may wish to receive the publication regularly. To join (or unsubscribe) –