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: Zealandia comes of age:



A happy New Year to everyone. We are trying out the refurbished Suter Theatre for our first talk in collaboration with the McDiamid Institute on February 16th, which promises to be a good venue and seats 150. Glenda Lewis, the McDiarmid liaison person and I also decided not to use Eventbrite for ticketing because so many people were not turning up and others were missing out. So we suggest that if you are really keen to be at this talk that you turn up early to get seats.
Look out in the next few days for the dates of the first two Nelson Science Society talks.
Jenny Pollock
President NSS

Thursday 2nd March, 7.00pm (NON-NSS EVENT): Toiora te Moana–Toiora te Tangata // Healthy Seas–Healthy People Cawthron Institute invites you to think about our precious oceans by coming along to hear six scientists share their stories, research and passion for the sea.

You will hear from speakers with a variety of expertise – from genetics to algal biotechnology – all related to the sea and its challenges.Each speaker will offer a short, snappy, story that is accompanied by photos (similar to Pecha Kucha). There will be a bar available in the Granary.

Venue: The Granary, Founders Park, Nelson
Bookings essential through Eventbrite Search Cawthron

Tuesday 14th March, 7.30pm. Talk: The earthquake risk in the Nelson Urban Area - Mike Johnston, Geological Consultant, Nelson. Venue: Room A211, NMIT. GOLD COIN DONATION NON-NSS MEMBERS.

The Nelson, including Richmond, Urban Area (population 60,000) is at risk from damage arising from earthquakes originating in central New Zealand. Faults such as the strike-slip Alpine Fault, which in the middle Wairau valley is only 35 km distant or twice this at St Arnaud, and the west Nelson reverse faults, such as White Creek (ruptured 1929 Murchison Earthquake) and Glasgow (1968 Inangahua Earthquake) present an obvious hazard. However, the Waimea-Flaxmore Fault System (W-FFS), trending northeast from the Alpine Fault near St Arnaud, forms the boundary between the Nelson lowlands and Tasman Bay (which constitute the Moutere Depression) and the mountains of east Nelson, including the Port Hills, Grampians and Barnicoat Range. The fault system comprises six major, reverse, faults and a multitude of lesser cross-faults with a very approximate east-west orientation. Although generally well-defined on shore, the W-FFS is poorly understood and has not received as much scientific attention as the Alpine and other strike-slip faults. Ground displacements, and other evidence, show that the W-FFS is active, although earthquakes occur at a lesser frequency than on the active strike-slip faults. It also appears that ground rupture in the northern part of the fault system is, in any one event, confined to relatively short lengths of the major faults or to some of the cross-faults. This has implications as for the intensity, and location, of severe seismic ground shaking arising from earthquakes originating on the W-FFS.

Tuesday April 11th, 7.30pm.Talk: “The problem of plastic rubbish in the ocean”, Jenny Pollock, President of the NSS. Venue: NMIT Room A211. GOLD COIN DONATION NON-NSS MEMBERS.

The amount of plastic rubbish in the ocean has been a shock to everyone. In this talk I’ll outline the extent of the problem and why so much plastic is ending up in remote parts of the ocean, well away from land. I’ll also show how this problem is affecting wildlife, not only birds and marine creatures but ultimately humans as well.
But not only large pieces of plastic are affecting our oceans. Tiny plastic beads from cosmetics plus microfibres from our clothes are also polluting the ocean. Microbeads are being eaten by some zooplankton and enter the food chain that way. Microfibres are affecting worms in sediments and are even being found in fish flesh.
Methods of cleaning plastic pollution are being developed so we will also look at some of those as well.