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Professor Cather Simpson

Professor Cather Simpson MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator and Professor at University of Auckland. Tell us a fact no one knows about you I was the only girl alongside 299 boys in the under-15 baseball league and I played second base for the championship team Anything else? My entire scientific career is based on a bet […]

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Aug
28

Dr Carla Meledandri

MacDiarmid Principal Investigator Dr Carla Meledandri runs a busy chemistry lab at the University of Otago, specialising in nanoscale materials. Back in 2011 she and her collaborator, Dr Don Schwass from the Faculty of Dentistry, had an inkling her research could lend itself to potential commercial applications using nanosilver for dentistry. After being awarded an […]

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Director’s report

Director’s report When the MacDiarmid Institute was first conceived, it was with a vision of science excellence; a vision that would bring together the best researchers in materials science in order to create research of a standard and excellence beyond what could be achieved by these researchers alone.  I don’t know whether even Sir Paul […]

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Chair’s report

Chair’s report 2016 has seen the new leadership team settle into their roles. I have been pleased to see the way the wider MacDiarmid Institute has supported them in this. The New Zealand materials science community is small, but the Institute delivers scale, making our researchers internationally competitive. I am encouraged by the efforts of […]

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Materials to combat our changing climate

Reinventing catalysts, one atom at a time Our planet is struggling on many fronts. Populations are booming, freshwater supplies are polluted and deforestation is widespread. We’re burning more fuel and using more energy than at any other point in history, and poor air quality is heralding a global health crisis. But, across the world, scientists […]

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A revolution in computing—driven by a new breed of materials

Tomorrow’s computers When the first powerful computers began to appear during World War II, they were viewed solely as military tools. No-one could have predicted that within 40 years, computers would become so compact that you could fit one onto a desk. Fast-forward to today, and around 90% of New Zealanders now own a smartphone; […]

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Every atom counts

Every atom counts Look around you. If you can see it with your naked eye, it is part of the macroscopic world. This world includes everything from the food you eat and the car you drive, to the furniture you sit on or the building you are in. Humans have long been masters of manipulating […]

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Nanotech – at the heart of medicine

Nanotech at the heart of medicine  The pace of change in modern medicine has been staggering. Diseases that once killed millions have now been eradicated, and treatments for diseases have never been more effective. The 21st century comes with its own challenges, though–a higher life expectancy brings an increased burden of age-related diseases. Global populations […]

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Materials stars

New Investigators   Penny Brothers New MacDiarmid Principal Investigator and University of Auckland Chemist, Professor Penny Brothers, is building novel molecules as building blocks for light-absorbing components of solar cells and magnetic materials.    Anna Garden New MacDiarmid Associate Investigator and University of Otago Chemist and winner of a 2016 Marsden grant, Dr Anna Garden, […]

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Emeritus Investigators

Emeritus Investigators When it comes to science there’s often a focus on the ‘new’; the most current, the latest (research, funds, etc). It can be easy to forget how success is built on the ongoing support of others. Few of the achievements of the MacDiarmid would be possible without the people who worked for years […]

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Bridging the gap—translating science into commerce

Bridging the gap—translating science into commerce Dr Carla Meledandri MacDiarmid Principal Investigator Dr Carla Meledandri runs a busy chemistry lab at the University of Otago, specialising in nanoscale materials. Back in 2011 she and her collaborator, Dr Don Schwass from the Faculty of Dentistry, had an inkling her research could lend itself to potential commercial […]

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Mapping our spin-outs

Stage 1 Product gains industry recognition and an increased public profile. Potential to attract early investment/partnering with business mentors.    Lab   Spot Check (a collaboration between Principal Investigators and The University of Auckland Professors Jadranka Travas-Sejdic and David Williams), uses materials science to provide low-cost, on-the-spot detection of DNA signatures of infectious and chronic […]

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Extending our engagement – taking Kōrero to the next level

House of Science and the Nanogirl show  Sometimes an idea comes along that is so successful that you want to take it to the next level. This is what happened with the MacDiarmid Institute’s Kōrero with Scientists workshops, where teachers and MacDiarmid scientists spend two hours exploring basic physical science concepts like magnets, light, and […]

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Reaching out to physics teachers

Reaching out to physics teachers For most of us, teaching physics to anybody would be hard (if not impossible) at the best of times. But imagine trying to teach physics to a class of Year 13 students if you yourself had little university physics training.  Unfortunately this is the reality for more than half of […]

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Enriching the PhD and Postdoc experience

Enriching the PhD and Postdoc experience   Training PhD and Postdoctoral students is a big part of our work and in 2016 we initiated an annual ‘Spring Development Programme’, a multi-day student workshop.  Deputy Director Justin Hodgkiss explains.  “Our students were ending up with great science credentials but lacking key skills that would influence their […]

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Honouring our origins-the Paul Callaghan story

Honouring our origins—the Paul Callaghan story MacDiarmid Institute funding has been pivotal in helping bring about the first documentary about Sir Paul Callaghan. Sir Paul, who established the MacDiarmid Institute and was the Institute’s first Director, played a major role in New Zealand as a scientist, environmentalist, public commentator, lecturer and mentor. Director/producer Shirley Horrocks […]

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Building a new science audience-partnering with The Spinoff

Building a new science audience—partnering with The Spinoff   The Spinoff Science: We are delighted to have been able to help The Spinoff set up a science section—for the chance to get lively-written science stories in front of The Spinoff’s young and engaged (and growing) audience. The science section has also given us the opportunity […]

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Clustering for impact

Clustering for impact   The Cluster Symposium 2016 took place in Christchurch on 28-29 November 2016. The scientific programme spanned full two days and included eight sessions on cluster-related science. Talks covered experimental research in physics and chemistry as well as computational/theoretical work in the areas of both fundamental and applied cluster science. 

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MESA bootcamp – an adventurous academic experience

MESA bootcamp—an adventurous academic experience   The MacDiarmid Emerging Scientists Association (MESA) ran its fifth annual three-day ‘bootcamp’—–an ‘adventurous academic experience in a remote location’ at the Forest and Bird Lodge on Mt Ruapehu. This year the camp explored instrumentation and other advanced equipment for new materials research. MacDiarmid Associate Investigator Dr Jenny Malstrӧm joined […]

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Students share their science—MESA 3-min video competition

Students share their science—MESA 3-min video competition This year the MacDiarmid Emerging Students Association (MESA) challenged MacDiarmid students and researchers to produce a three minute long video clip presenting their research to the general public (on a level that could be enjoyed and understood by a curious teenager). The panel of judges—–Toby Manhire (The Spinoff), […]

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The science of stuff we use to make things

The science of stuff we use to make things   In 2016 MacDiarmid Investigators again traveled to six regional centres in New Zealand to deliver public science lectures. A Materials History of the World covered materials history both within western science and from the perspective of indigenous Pacific materials heritage and culture and looked to […]

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Discovering nanoscience

The MacDiarmid team inspired us, as Maori and Pacific youth, to get out there and keep discovering—the possibilities are endless. Our NanoCamp and DiscoveryCamp continue to attract high numbers of applications from Year 12 and 13 secondary students. This year, 10 times as many students applied for NanoCamp as there were places, and four times […]

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Internationally engaged

Perhaps one of the best validations for our science is the number and calibre of international scientists and universities wishing to collaborate.   We have formal Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with the Australian National Fabrication Facility and the Centre for Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology in Australia and in 2016 signed an MoU with the […]

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