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: Sinkholes on comet:

Next events

Wednesday 15 July 7.30pm. Zealandia – Earth’s 8th Continent. Dr. Nick Mortimer, part of the annual Hochstetter Lecture Series. Room A211, NMIT, entrance off Alton St, all welcome,non-NSS members $2 donation please.
Continents are the largest solid objects on the Earth’s surface. In this illustrated talk Nick will summarise the scientific case that there are not seven but eight continents: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America and Zealandia. Although Zealandia is 4.9 million square kilometres in area, it has literally lain hidden because 94% of it is under the sea. In the talk Nick will also speak about how Zealandia became the world’s most submerged continent and why its continental identity is important to science and to society.

Nick Mortimer is a geologist at the Dunedin office of the Crown Research Institute GNS Science. In his 26 year career he has carried out land- and ship-based field work throughout the length and breadth of New Zealand and Zealandia. He recently co-authored a Penguin book on Zealandia with his colleague Hamish Campbell.

Thursday, July 30th, 6pm.THE ENERGY REVOLUTION: The age of fossil fuels is coming to an end. Global warming from their burning is undeniable. But when will tomorrow begin? A talk by Drs Justin Hodgkiss and Luke Liu. Venue: Maitai Room, the Rutherford Hotel. The MACDIARMID INSTITUTE is supporting regional development with this series of free public talks, organised in association with the Nelson Science Society.
Justin and Luke will tackle these questions: How long until we learn to harness the sun’s energy efficiently, as plants have been doing for 3.5 billion years? Is there even enough sunlight striking the Earth to supply our increasing energy demands? Can our renewable energy sources satisfy the extra load of a wholesale conversion to electric vehicles? What are the options likely to mean for more remote centres like Nelson, and oil and gas-producing New Plymouth?

Dr Justin Hodgkiss is a senior lecturer in Physical Chemistry at Victoria University of Wellington and a Rutherford Discovery Fellow. Justin completed his BSc(Hons) in chemistry at the University of Otago in 2000, and his Ph.D. as a Fulbright Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. Justin’s research program is focused on the development of materials for low-cost printable electronics – primarily solar cells.

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