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Last thoughts for 2011

We have had a large number of successes this year, starting with Professor Sir Paul Callaghan (VUW) being named New Zealander of the Year which led straight into our biennial International conference.  This year the conference was held in Wellington and it was the largest of the five that we have held, bringing several hundred scientists to New Zealand.  The event was opened by the Rt. Hon John Key and included, in addition to several hundred scientific oral and poster presentations, public and school events with Professor Sir Richard Friend as a joint venture to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry.  Thank you to Dr Tim Kemmitt (IRL) the Chair of the Organising Committee and Dr Ben Ruck (VUW) the Programme Chair.  I have no doubt that AMN-6 to be held in Auckland in February 2013 will again be a wonderful occasion to highlight the cutting edge research of the Institute and to bring the world leaders to New Zealand.

Dr Michele Governale (VUW) and Dr Geoff Waterhouse (UoA) had their research published in Nature Physics (7, 857-861, 2011) and Nature Chemistry (3, 489-492, 2011), respectively.  This is a huge achievement and Michele’s work was selected to be the cover story.

Dr Justin Hodgkiss (VUW) was award one of ten national and subject wide Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, which he will take up in 2012.

We had a large number of our PhD students graduate and move on to the next phase of their lives, congratulations to them, good luck for the future and welcome to the MacDiarmid Institute Alumni.  Mark Hunter (VUW, PhD student with Paul Callaghan) was awarded the International Raymond Andrew Prize by the AMPERE Bureau for his PhD thesis in magnetic resonance.

The MacDiarmid Emerging Scientists Association celebrated its first birthday and Dr Natalie Plank (VUW) the Founding Chair of MESA completed her one year term with a pile of accomplishments staked up behind her.

Dr John Watt (VUW) hosted the second series of the very popular Ever Wondered? (TVNZ7), in addition to launching a company (BoutiQ) with his supervisor Associate Professor Richard Tilley (VUW).

Dr Shane Telfer (MU) was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship which he will take up in 2012, spending five months in the USA.

The year culminated with a flurry of Fellowships (Professor Richard Blaikie (UoC/UoO) and Professor Pablo Etchegoin (VUW) Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand) and Medals (Professor Geoff Jameson (MU) New Zealand Association of Scientists’ Marsden Medal, Professor David Williams (UoA) the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry Maurice Wilkins Centre Prize and Prof Jeff Tallon (IRL) the New Zealand Institute of Physics Dan Walls Medal) and our largest ever Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Symposium and Investigator meetings in Wellington in November, organised by Dr Franck Natali (VUW) and Dr Justin Hodgkiss (VUW).

These are just a wee few of the many many highlights from Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Investigators in the Institute.  Thank you to everyone for the huge commitment that you all have to making the Institute a vibrant and productive collaborative place to work. 

Have a wonderful festive season everyone, I look forward to working with you in 2012 and continuing to introduce you to the activities from the MacDiarmid Institute.

Merry Christmas, Kate

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