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. 

As of June 2017 we have over 150 paid up members and a mailing contact list of over 500. If you have any interest in science either give us your e-mail address so we can send you details of our events or join our growing society. Science is alive and well in Nelson!

SCIENCE STORY OF THE WEEK: Obituary of the first female Fields Medal winner:


PLEASE NOTE: The Nelson Science Society has changed its email address. It is now This email address can be used now to email the president, treasurer or to gain information.

Tuesday, August 29th, 7.30.  The DVD “Thin Ice” which shows how scientists gather and use data for Climate Change research, has become an important tool in Climate Change Education. One of the co-producers of "Thin Ice", Emeritus Professor Peter Barrett, will be showing parts of the DVD, updating us on recent Climate Change research and giving us examples of what we can do to help reduce carbon emissions.

Venueas yet to be decided, please look for further announcements/look out for e-mail shot.

Friday, September 1st, 7:00 pm. Star Party. Cawthron Atkinson Observatory which is on the grounds of the Clifton Terrace School. All welcome. Gold coin donation for EVERYONE please.

Monday, September 4th, 7.00pm. A MacDiarmid lecture: Women in Nanoscience, ‘Little Materials, Big Stories’. Three MacDiarmid Institute presenters will present their own stories about working with Nanotechnology. Venue: The Suter Gallery.

This is part of a series of ‘Regional Lectures’ given by MacDiarmid Institute people to foster public understanding of science. It is being run in conjunction with the Nelson Science Society. It is a free community event, for a general audience.

No ticket pre-sales – just turn up on the door.

Monday, September 18th, 7.30pm. The annual Hochsetter Lecture. Dave Craw is giving a talk on ‘Tectonics and Genetics in Topographic Evolution’. Venue: The Suter Gallery.

The landscape of New Zealand is spectacular in its expression of the active tectonic processes that occur along the Pacific-Australian plate boundary. However, it is difficult to determine the geological history of development of the onshore topography because previous configurations in the evolution of that topography have been eroded. Some of the native fauna carry a biological memory of the topographic environments in which they evolved, in their genetic makeup (DNA). Native freshwater fish are the most useful for this type of study. The genetic variations of the fish can be used to document the nature and timing of river capture events and mountain range growth. These biological tools provide some new insights into the development of the onshore landscape since the submergence or near-submergence of the NZ landmass in the Oligocene. The biological memory approach to understanding topographic evolution could be extended to all endemic NZ fauna and flora for which suitable distribution and genetic data are available.

Ticket information will be available before the end of August.