The Nelson Science Society

Welcome to the webpage of the Nelson Science Society (NSS) and its constituent, the Astronomy Section. The NSS is a branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand and exists to promote science within the Nelson/Tasman region - we do this by holding regular scientific talks from a variety of experts throughout the year and by promoting science education in schools and colleges.

The Astronomy section is run as an independent constituent of the NSS and maintains its own program of events (see Astronomy Section pages for full details and newsletter). Please bookmark this website to see details of all upcoming events sponsored by the NSS and its Astronomy section (and other events of interest), and to see details of past activities etc.

SCIENCE STORY OF THE WEEK: Ebola vaccine break through:

Next events

Thursday, August 6, 7.30 pm.Cosmic Magnetic Fields. A talk by Clive Rowe. Monthly meeting of the Astronomy Section but all welcome. $2 non-members. Venue: Cawthron Institute seminar room, near the corner of Halifax and Milton Streets.
Magnetic fields, generated by moving charges or currents, play a vital and extensive part in our modern world. They are (along with electric fields) involved living cells and very large magnetic fields occur in nuclear and particle interactions as well as Pulsars and Black Holes. A magnetic compass tells gives us direction on the earth's surface and guides the charged particles that cause spectacular Auroras.On a grander scale, magnetic fields permeate  planetary and galactic space, even affecting particle motions and structure on the scale of Galactic Clusters billions of light in extent.Clive will discuss some observations and theories.
Clive has spent about 60 years in various technical support roles, primarily in electronics and optics in various contexts including government, university and commercial enterprises, following his interests in astronomy and technology.

Friday, 14th August, 6pm. Bird evolution - from dinosaurs to DNA. Prof. Scott Edwards, Harvard University, USA (Allan Wilson Center sponsored talk). Maitai Room, Rutherford Hotel. Registration required (see below). Gold coin collection on door.

Birds are the living descendants of dinosaurs. This theory, based on the study of fossilised bones, is now accepted by most evolutionists. What is less well known is that the genomes of birds - comprised of over 1 billion DNA letters and thousands of genes - bear traces of their dinosaur ancestry as well. Modern genomics reveals how bird genomes reflect their streamlined and high-energy lifestyles, epitomized by their ability to fly. Deciphering the language of DNA reveals the origin of birds’ unique traits, such as feathers, the mystery of evolutionary reversals, such as loss of flight, and provides clues to their stunning diversity and survival in the face of global environmental change.

Professor Edwards is Alexander Agassiz Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard and curator of the ornithology collection in Harvard’s Museum of comparative Zoology.

Register online for seats on the Allan Wilson website:

Monday, 17th August, TTBC. Walking in the footprints of dinosaurs. Hamish Campbell. In conjunction with the Nelson Museum. Masonic Hall, Nelson. Details to follow.......

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