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Natural Hazards Scientist Wins Zonta Science Award

26 May 2004

Natural Hazards Scientist Wins Zonta Science Award

A scientist who describes her work as a "dream job" has won the 2004 Zonta Science Award.

Ursula Cochran says her investigations of past earthquakes, tsunamis, and climate events in New Zealand is the perfect job package.

" My field work in some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the country, is balanced by laboratory, desk and microscope work," Dr Cochran says.

" Best of all, my work benefits all New Zealanders by increasing the knowledge and awareness of geological hazards."

The Zonta Science Award is presented annually to a woman with a PhD who has excelled in pure or applied science, has excellent communication skills and is a good role model for younger women.

Dr Cochran, of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd (GNS), received the award from Governor General Dame Sylvia Cartwright in Wellington yesterday. There were four finalists.

Later this year she will use the $10,000 prize to travel to the west coast of the United States to work alongside leading specialists in her field of investigating pre-historic earthquakes and tsunamis caused by sudden plate boundary movement.

While in the US, she plans to visit four sites where scientists have identified evidence of plate boundary earthquakes and tsunamis.

Dr Cochran will also present results from her New Zealand research to an international conference and ask for feedback.

Ultimately Dr Cochran, who has BA, BSc, and PhD degrees, would like to attract enough research funding to support other young scientists into their "dream jobs".

The award is sponsored by Zonta International Club of Wellington, BP Oil New Zealand, and the John Ilott Charitable Trust.


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