Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


UC earthquake researcher receives PM’s science honour

A University of Canterbury professor leading worldwide research into the effects of ground-shaking caused by earthquakes has been presented with one of New Zealand’s top science prizes.

Professor Brendon Bradley, at age 30 one of the New Zealand’s youngest professors, has been awarded the 2016 Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize. The University of Canterbury Civil and Natural Resources Engineering Professor in Earthquake Engineering receives $200,000 – $150,000 of which is to be used for further research.

His research, which is already being used to set new building design codes internationally, and places emphasis on more robust designs for buildings and infrastructure of critical importance, such as hospitals, telecommunications headquarters and office blocks occupied by large numbers of workers. Several major rebuilding projects in Christchurch are being influenced by his findings, with an expected trickle-down effect as these new, advanced methods of engineering become the norm.

Prof Bradley has received numerous national and international accolades for his seismic hazard analysis and his nomination for the Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist was judged only weeks before last year’s Kaikoura earthquake. That earthquake continues to highlight the important role of earthquake scientists and engineers in New Zealand.

Prof Bradley’s prize recognises his sophisticated seismic hazard analysis and assessment modelling, and pioneering ground motion simulation to identify and mitigate the effects of earthquakes.

“It’s about investing more money where the risk is greater, investing less where the risk is lower and taking into account the function of the building,” he says.

Prof Bradley believes New Zealanders should focus on the social and economic disruption of earthquakes more than the risk of human casualties, which is low compared to other risks we face every day. He says we can take some comfort from knowing that the high-quality earthquake research he and his team are doing is among the best in the world.

Some of the research on engineering solutions to improve earthquake resilience is having spinoff benefits for other infrastructure operating in day-to-day conditions, such as more robust electricity networks with fewer power outages and stronger stopbanks to withstand floods.

The prize-winning academic researcher says New Zealand is fortunate to have a high level of insurance cover to cope with recent earthquakes but could become vulnerable if it follows the example of California and Japan where insurance cover has been significantly reduced.

“We could be exposed if there is too much reliance on insurance instead of investing in more seismic-resilient infrastructure.”

Being prepared is also essential, Prof Bradley says. Those living in urbanised areas such as Auckland and Wellington, where people tend to shop daily and have minimal supplies of stored food, may struggle to support themselves immediately after a serious earthquake.

The international researcher is on sabbatical at Stanford University in California, USA, where he is collaborating with others in writing a textbook that outlines the level of resilience required for buildings to withstand various earthquake magnitudes. Prof Bradley is also Deputy-Director of QuakeCoRE.

The 2016 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes were presented to winners on March 21 at the Grand Hall, Parliament Building, in Wellington.

To find out more about the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes visit:

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Prue Hyman On ‘Hopes Dashed?’

For Scoop Review of Books, Alison McCulloch interviewed Prue Hyman about her new book, part of the BWB Texts series, Hopes Dashed? The Economics of Gender Inequality More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Chuck Berry (And James Comey, And Bill English)

Back when many people were still treating rock’n’roll as a passing fad – was calypso going to be the new thing? – Chuck Berry knew that it had changed popular music forever. What is even more astonishing is that this 30-ish black r&b musician from a middle class family in St Louis could manage to recreate the world of white teenagers, at a time when the very notion of a “teenager” had just been invented. More>>

Howard Davis Review:
The Baroque Fusion Of L'arpeggiata

Named after a toccata by German composer Girolamo Kapsberger, L'Arpeggiata produces its unmistakable sonority mainly from the resonance of plucked strings, creating a tightly-woven acoustic texture that is both idiosyncratic and immediately identifiable. Director Christina Pluhar engenders this distinctive tonality associated with the ensemble she founded in 2000 by inviting musicians and vocalists from around the world to collaborate on specific projects illuminated by her musicological research. More>>

African Masks And Sculpture: Attic Discovery On Display At Expressions Whirinaki

Ranging from masks studded with nails and shards of glass to statues laden with magical metal, the works are from ethnic groups in nine countries ranging from Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More>>

Obituary: Andrew Little Remembers Murray Ball

“Murray mined a rich vein of New Zealand popular culture and exported it to the world. Wal and Dog and all the other Kiwi characters he crafted through Footrot Flats were hugely popular here and in Australia, Europe and North America." More>>


Organised Choas: NZ Fringe Festival 2017 Awards

Three more weeks of organised chaos have come to an end with the Wellington NZ Fringe Arts Festival Awards Ceremony as a chance to celebrate all our Fringe artists for their talent, ingenuity, and chutzpah! More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Wellington Writer Wins $US165,000 Literature Prize

Victoria University of Wellington staff member and alumna Ashleigh Young has won a prestigious Windham-Campbell Literature Prize worth USD$165,000 for her book of essays Can You Tolerate This? More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: We’re All Lab Rats

A couple of years ago, there were reports that Silicon Valley executives were sending their children to tech-free schools. It was a story that dripped of irony: geeks in the heart of techno-utopia rejecting their ideology when it came to their own kids. But the story didn’t catch on, and an awkward question lingered. Why were the engineers of the future desperate to part their gadgets from their children? More>>

  • CensusAtSchool - Most kids have no screen-time limits
  • Netsafe - Half of NZ high school students unsupervised online
  • Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news