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.

STOP THE PRESS: Reckon you have a good science story to tell? In June NSS will be holding its first Couch Stories ('true stories told live'). See 'advance notice' below for further details.....

Major international speaker coming on April 22nd to talk on the genetics of threatened wildlife species such as cheetahs, and what it means for their conservation (see below)....

Next events:

Thursday, April 2, 7.30 pm. Monthly meeting of the Astronomy Section.

Topic: Charles Gifford - Forgotten Kiwi Scientist. Venue: Cawthron Institute seminar room, near the corner of Halifax and
Milton Streets.

By studying World War I battlefields, Charles Gifford who was a teacher
at Wellington College developed the theory that lunar craters were formed by
At the conclusion of the war the favoured theory was the lunar craters were
volcanic. Gifford used mathematics to explain how meteors gave rise to
craters. Also a report on an attempt to view a total solar eclipse of the Sun
from the Faroe Islands. Illustrated with photos and a video of it getting dark.

Tuesday, 7th April , 7.30pm. Population census 2013 and its far-reaching implications? A Royal Society sponsored talk by Professor Gary Hawke and Dr Malcolm McKinnon.  Room A211, NMIT, entrance off Alton St, all welcome,non-NSS members $2 donation please.

The Royal Society of New Zealand has undertaken a major review of the 2013 census and New Zealand’s changing population. The Review's authors discuss what an evolving New Zealand society might look like, what is underlying these changes, and the challenges and opportunities these present. The presentation will focus on seven themes: diversity, population change, tangata whenua, migration, households and families, regional variation, and work.

Professor Gary Hawke retired from Victoria University of Wellington, as Head of the School of Government and Professor of Economic History. Gary is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and is also a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia. He is a Senior Fellow of the NZ Institute of Economic Research.

Dr Malcolm McKinnon is a New Zealand historian. He taught at Victoria University of Wellington 1975–1990 and his since worked independently as an historian. From 2003 to 2012 he was also a writer and theme editor for Te Ara, the online encyclopaedia of New Zealand, for which he oversaw the regional entries.

Wednesday, 22nd April, 6.00pm. A Moving Landscape of Wildlife Genetics.Professor Stephen O’Brien. An Alan Wilson Center Sponsored event. Old St Johns, entrance free.

Stephen O’Brien is Chief Scientific Officer at St Petersburg State University, and author of science adventure stories, Tears of the Cheetah and other Tales from the Genetic Frontier    

Powerful genetic technologies have revolutionized our ability to recognize hidden dangers for threatened animals, and revealed long-forgotten  adventures that have left their footprints in the genomes of tigers, cheetahs and the Florida panther.  The mix of conservation, global politics and science reasoning makes for fascinating stories and lessons for stabilizing our fragile wildlife species.

Advance Notice: Dear Nelson Science Enthusiast, we’re looking for storytellers for a science-themed Couch Stories show in mid-June. Couch Stories are true stories, told live on stage, without notes, slides - stories told the old-fashioned way. You should be willing to tell a 5 minute, true, personal story which illuminates some aspect of science. Your story can be about anything – from a “Eureka” moment or a brilliant mentor, to a bungled experiment or a childhood passion for spiders. Whatever your subject, your emphasis should be on telling a personal story or anecdote rather than delivering a lecture. You’ll get help crafting your story at a story-telling workshop in May run by the co-creators of Couch Stories, Jo Anne Firestone and Ro Cambridge.

WHEN: 7pm, Wed 10th June 2015 

WHERE: The Boathouse. Check out talks from previous shows:

CONTACT: Nigel Costley, president of the Nelson Science Society on or phone 03 548 3101.