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 July 2016 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: Superhard materials:


Saturday 27th August, 7pm. New Breakthroughs in Cancer Treatment - Professor Chris Jackson from Dunedin, who is an oncologist and chief medical officer for the NZ Cancer Society, and Professor Rod Dunbar from Auckland who is a scientist researching new cancer therapies and who is Director of the Maurice Wilkins Center. Part of the Queenstown Research Week. Venue: Rutherford Hotel. You must register for a ticket at:

Sunday 28th August, 6.30pm. The wonderful world of stem cells, a talk by Nobel Laureate, Sir John Gurdon. Part of the Queenstown Research Week. Venue: Nelson College. You must  register for a ticket at:

Tuesday 30th August, 6.30pm.The Science of Sugar & Fat - Prof. Peter Shepherd from the University of Auckland will discuss the science of sugar and Prof. Dave Grattan from the University of Otago will cover the science behind obesity.Part of the Queenstown Research Week. Venue: Nelson Girls College. You must register for a ticket:

Thursday 8th September, 7.30pm. Ten Things you didn't know about Climate Change, a Royal Society talk in the 10 by 10 series. Professors Tim Naish and James Renwick. Elim Church, 625 Main Road Stoke.Full details, including a link to book your seat, at

Climate change is already redefining coastlines and the weather, both here in New Zealand and around the world. But will it affect me and what can I do about it?
Tim Naish and James Renwick will give their take on this biggest of issues – from the very local to the global.

Tuesday 13th September, 6pm. A Materials History of the World,  a presentation by Dr Penny Brothers (Principal Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute and Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Auckland) and Dr Vladimir Golovko (Associate Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute and a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry). Venue: Maitai Room, Rutherford Hotel, Nelson. Sponsored by the MacDiarmid Institute, a national Centre of Research Excellence for research into nanotechnology and materials science. No registration required.
We define civilisation by the dominant material of the age: stone, bronze, iron.These days cities rise to astounding heights with steel and reinforced concrete. We communicate between these cities at the speed of light, thanks to silicon – the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. And our consumer world is throw-away plastic.

Nanotechnologists now create new materials from the atoms up, often copying nature’s ability to self-assemble. Are we entering The Great Graphene Age?We are ourselves walking miracles of carbon construction.