Victoria University of Wellington

Nov
27

Green Science – Jonathan Halpert

Story by Veronika Meduna With demand for solar energy on the rise globally, Jonathan Halpert is well positioned to make an impact. A lecturer at Victoria University’s School of Chemical and Physical Sciences and an Associate Investigator of the MacDiarmid Institute, Dr Halpert was awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship—which means up to $800,000 over five […]

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Nov
27

Grounded In Theory – Michele Governale

Story by Ruth Beran Walking into Associate Professor Michele Governale’s office at Victoria University, it’s hard to miss the big whiteboard with equations scribbled in red pen. “These things have been written by my students and co-workers,” Governale explains. “At the moment there is no one complete thing, there are many.” It’s a testament to […]

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Nov
27

Going for Gold – Dr Andrea Kolb

Story by Vicki Hyde Nanotechnology provides a chance to change an ancient farm product, adding colour – and value – to the humble fleece. How to contribute further to the research programme of MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator, Professor Jim Johnston, has been on the mind of MacDiarmid Institute scientist Dr Andrea Kolb. Andrea recently completed […]

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Controlling their own destiny

The scientific legacy of Dr Bill Robinson is a new Institute at Victoria University Wellington bearing his name. The Robinson Research Institute is a newly-formed institute at Victoria which comprises the 25 scientists and engineers who previously formed the Superconductivity & Energy team at Callaghan Innovation (formerly IRL). This team has moved in its entirety from their previous employer to Victoria University […]

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Opinion: Time To Process

Dr Nicola Gaston teaches in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at VUW. Her research aims to improve our understanding of the functionality of materials. In particular she looks at the development and variation of physical properties as a function of size, from simple clusters of a few atoms, to large nanoparticles and bulk materials, using accurate quantum mechanical calculations and […]

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OPINION: The Value of Science by Joe Trodahl

The question put to me is “What is the value of science and innovation in/ for New Zealand?” Is my impression correct; does the word “innovation”
 in that question focus on economic advancement? In reality, innovation is required to advance science as well as the economy, and most else as well, but to me the […]

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Tackling the Science

  Natalie Plank’s vision is to develop a research platform focused on nanomaterial-based electronic devices for biosensors. Plank believes nanomaterials have enormous practical potential in
the field of medical diagnostics and mass screening techniques, but are also unpredictable – and for that reason, fascinating. Natalie took up her job as lecturer
in the School of Chemical and […]

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Chance Only Favours the Prepared Mind

Looking back at eleven years of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology   “When you’ve got the equipment, the expertise, and the space to think about problems in a different way, the research almost tells its own story.”   Popular culture delights in the concept of scientific serendipity: Alexander Fleming discovering penicillin after […]

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United Nations In A Lab

  It’s become commonplace to describe a multi-national group as a veritable United Nations, but in the case of the Magnetic Resonance Physics Group based at Victoria University the cliché holds true. With all the PhD candidates coming from overseas, and academic colleagues visiting from the US, UK, Germany, Sweden, Israel, Mexico, Japan and Australia, […]

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Looking in to the Middle Ground

When someone says they are studying soft materials, you may think of cuddly toys or velvet cushions, but to MacDiarmid researchers it means the long chains of molecules that make up cellulose fibres, dairy-based casein micelles and protein filaments in hair or food. These biomaterials form an intermediary hierarchy between the atomic and single molecule […]

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The Inside Story of the MacDiarmid Institute

    Not long before he passed away, Sir Paul Callaghan shared his memories of how the MacDiarmid Institute came to be. It all began in 2001 when Paul met the great Kiwi chemist Alan MacDiarmid. At age 53, Paul Callaghan was a world-renowned experimental physicist having pioneered a new field in NMR Spectroscopy at […]

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Portals into Other Worlds

  Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Hidden in six locations around New Zealand are over twenty portals into other worlds. Unlike Narnia or Middle Earth, these worlds are real, although you would have to shrink around a hundred million times to enter them. At this scale, an orange would loom the size of a […]

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The MacDiarmid Impact

Figure 1: The figure compares the citation impact of the MacDiarmid Institute with that of other prominent international institutions that work in advanced materials and nanotechnology.  The MacDiarmid Institute’s impact has grown considerably and is now closing in on that of MIT.  Sometime this year, the MacDiarmid Institute’s 1000th paper will be indexed by the […]

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Raman Spectroscopy

  Being able to detect a Raman signal from a single molecule illuminated with laser light has exciting applications in new materials research and analytical chemistry.  However, the team that developed the technique is also using it to find out more about the molecules themselves.  Improving the sensitivity of the detecting technique is a key […]

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Beating Post-PhD Depression

When he talks to science students approaching the end of their degrees, Benjamin Matthewson says that most tell him if they can’t keep doing research, they have no idea what lies ahead. Yet roughly seventy percent of PhD graduates will not go on to find employment in the sciences. This stark statistic looms large for Ben. […]

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Joe’s Birthday Bash

  A special symposium entitled A Brief History of VUW Condensed Matter Physics was organised to mark Joe Trodahl’s approaching 70th birthday by Franck Natali, Ben Ruck and Natalie Plank, and on 9 December 2011 family and friends gathered to pay tribute to his long, productive and still extremely active, research career. The physicists took […]

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Transit of Venus Forum – Lifting our Horizon – Gisborne 5-8 June 2012

  As the shadow of Venus crossed the face of the Sun on 8 June 2004, Professor Sir Paul Callaghan began his new career in public science communication at Te Papa, with a talk on science and the future. It was introduced by Radio New Zealand National presenter Kim Hill, and broadcast as part of […]

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A Golden Opportunity

Chemists Kerstin Lucas and Fern Kelly – PhD apprentices to Professor Jim Johnston, a Principal Investigator in the MacDiarmid Institute and master of the secret art of bonding gold and silver atoms to merino wool – linked up with Massey fashion students last year to imagine garments rendered in this luxurious product. Fern presented the […]

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