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Published 10 June 2010

2010 New Fellows

Twelve top New Zealand pure and applied science and humanities researchers have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand at the annual general meeting of the Society’s Academy in Wellington today.

The Society also elected as an Honorary Fellow, Professor John Gamble who is working at the University College in Cork, Ireland.

Academy chairperson Professor Keith Hunter said the high calibre of the nominees for Fellowship made the selection process challenging.

“Being elected as a Fellow is an honour given to our top researchers for showing distinction in research or in the advancement of science, technology or the humanities.

“The work of these newly elected Fellows reflects the wide range of work being undertaken by scientists and humanities researchers in New Zealand. I am very pleased to announce their election today.”

The new Fellows are:

  • Professor Estate Khmaladze, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Operations Research, Victoria University of Wellington – he is regarded as a leading international expert in statistical models, making significant contributions in not only theoretical work, but also for statistical problems in finance, insurance and other related fields.
  • Associate Professor Andre Nies, Department of Computer Science, The University of Auckland – he is a world leader in computability theory and algorithmic information theory. In 2009 he received the NZ Mathematical Society Research Award “for his special creativity and highly influential contributions in the area of mathematical logic”.
  • Professor David Lowe, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Waikato – he is an international leader in volcanic ash (tephra) research, using it as a tool to date past geological, climatic and archaeological events.
  • Professor Barry Scott, Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Massey University – currently heads the Institute of Molecular Biosciences at Massey University. He has made landmark contributions to rhizobium-legume symbiosis, and has produced several cutting edge advances in pasture grasses and fungal-plant interactions.
  • Professor Peter Derrick, Institute of Fundamental Sciences, Massey University – he is world renowned as an innovative physical chemist, and the international leader in the development of instrumentation for mass spectrometry.
  • Dr Wendy Nelson, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) – she is a leading international expert on red algae seaweeds. Her work has resulted in the recognition of New Zealand as a centre of diversity on a global scale.
  • Professor William Manhire, International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington – he is an internationally distinguished poet, essayist and writer of short fiction. His critical, teaching and entrepreneurial skills have made him the foremost figure in developing New Zealand writing.
  • Professor Michael Clout, Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity, The University of Auckland – is an internationally recognised conservation ecologist, providing scientific leadership in the ecology and conservation of native birds for many years, and in the behaviour and management of invasive mammals.
  • Professor John Hosking, Department of Computer Science, The University of Auckland – is an internationally renowned scientist in the field of software engineering with his work influencing a number of programming languages in the USA and New Zealand.
  • Professor Geoff Chase, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury – his innovative research focuses on model-based therapeutics, combining innovative engineering models and methods with physiology and clinical medicine to produce novel results for the health sector.
  • Dr Steven Fischer, Institute of Polynesian Languages, Auckland – he is widely known for his significant work in deciphering ancient script, in particular the decipherment of the Phaistos Disk from Crete, and the Rongo-rongo script on wooden tablets from Easter Island.
  • Professor Richie Poulton, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago – he leads one of the most successful and highly cited longitudinal studies of health and development in the world, being undertaken at the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit.  The study is following more than 1000 children born 1972-73 from birth to adulthood.

The new Honorary Fellow elected is Professor John Gamble, who is working at the Department of Geology, University College, Cork in Ireland. His has a reputation globally for his contributions to the understanding of deep-seated volcanic processes.

Honorary Fellowships are aimed at encouraging liaison between scientists of different nations and promoting communication and links with them.

The Royal Society of New Zealand now has 375 Fellows and 56 Honorary Fellows. Fellows are involved in providing expert advice, promoting best research practice and disseminating science and humanities information.