Third Student and Postdoc Symposium 07

  The third MacDiarmid Institute Student and Postdoc Symposium was held in November 2007, this time at Palmerston North’s Massey university campus. Those attending were treated to a two-day programme of guest speakers, posters, theme talks, team building, a dinner, and even a debate. Keynote speakers were Healtheries’ Managing Director Sarah Kennedy, sponsored by FRST, and […]

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A Man for All Seasons

  After a distinguished career in university governance and research funding, including setting up the Albany campus of Massey University, Emeritus Professor Ian Watson is now the Chair of the MacDiarmid Institute’s Board.  He talked to Anna Meyer about his long and interesting career – and life afterwards. Ian began his academic career at the […]

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A Drunken Spider

Keynote speaker at 2007’s Student and Postdoc Symposium held at Massey University in late November was Managing Director of Healtheries, Sarah Kennedy. She told the audience that her career had been, “like a drunken spider on a slippery windscreen”. Mike Bodnar was there. Monday 26 November, Sarah Kennedy faced her post-doctoral audi­ence and apologised for […]

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Let’s get this Physics Show on the road!

  In October of 2007 staff from the MacDiarmid Institute and Victoria University packed up a van with physics gear and hit the road for a week. Johnny McClymont, Ocean Mercier and me visited schools in Hamilton, Waiuku, and Auckland doing interactive demonstrations and hands-on activities from the New Zealand Physics Teachers’ Resource Bank [www.physics.school.nz]. […]

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Filled Roles

  There was a surprise waiting for those attending the post-doc symposium at Massey. After – in some cases – learning and even rehearsing their oral presentations – some attendees were initially horrified to find that they’d be giving someone else’s presentation… Some might call Bill Williams sadistic. Others would say he just has a […]

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Raise a Glass to Science

Andy Edgar knows about glass. One large pane of it protected him from a sweeping rainstorm as it battered the Laby Building at Victoria University, while he explained the intricacies of glass, ceramics, and glass-ceramic com­binations, together with their potential applications, to Mike Bodnar… While the rest of us think of glass as the material […]

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Nano-ethics – no small matter!

  If you had nano-scopic vision, this paper would look like a matted web of cellulose fibres. You could look at an iridescent green beetle wing and see spiral staircases of molecules twisting towards you and if you could see inside your hand you could watch thousands of molecular motors splitting cells, transporting chemicals and […]

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No Speed Limits

  With support from the McDiarmid Institute, Victoria University and AUT University, the University of Canterbury is driving New Zealand research with the recent installation of Australasias’s fastest computer.  Next to the bus schedules posted at University of Canterbury’s College of Engineering is a recruitment poster ask­ing, “What is Electrical Engineering?” Anyone taking time to […]

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Secrets of the World

  Handheld devices for rapid se­quencing of DNA in the field; im­plantable drug pumps working on the nanoscale — these are two of the applications Jadranka Travas-Sejdic envisions for her ongoing investiga­tions into new polymer electronics materials. Working at the crossroads of nanotech­nology and biotechnology, Travas-Sejdic sees “exceptional opportunities for advancements” in her field that […]

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Beyond the Farm and the Theme Park

  Paul Callaghan was invited to be the 2007 Royal Society of New Zealand Distinguished Speaker – a first exception to the rule of inviting overseas speakers. Previous distinguished speakers include Robert Lord May and Robert Lord Winston. The series was initiated, and is funded by, the David and Genevieve Becroft Trust. Paul’s reputation as […]

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