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Young Canterbury Physicist wins Premier Science Award

July 12, 2012

MEDIA RELEASE – Immediate publication

Young Canterbury Physicist wins Premier Award in Inaugural Sir Paul Callaghan Awards for Young Science Orators

First year Canterbury University Physics , Mathematics and Engineering student, 17 year old Hadleigh Frost, won the Premier Award at the prestigious Sir Paul Callaghan Young Science Orator Awards in Wellington this evening.

Hadleigh’s presentation entitled “Building the Brain” was a 15 minute dissertation about the huge opportunities in New Zealand to develop artificial intelligence for future economic and social benefit for New Zealand using the talents of home grown scientists, mathematicians a nd IT specialists.

Hadleigh is in his first year of study at Canterbury University having been one of the top ten secondary school students in New Zealand last year. Last year he was a Year 12 student at Lincoln High School who was an outstanding scholar in 5 Scholarship subjects.

In addition to the Sir Paul Callaghan Trophy Hadleigh received $5000 in cash as grant towards his future studies.

Year 13 student Toby Hendy of Katikati College in the Bay of Plenty won the Highly Commended prize for the Best Runner Up Prsentatioon by a Secondary School Student for her presentation about the economic and social gains to be made by removing educational and social disadvantages entitled “Mind the Gap”. Toby received a grant of $2500 towards her university studies next year.

Scott Thomas, who is an astronomy student at Otago University but who hails from Rotorua, enthralled the audience with his presentation about the future possibilities for New Zealand economically and socially from involvement in the space programme and research about outer space. Scott also received a grant of $2500 towards the completion of his undergraduate degree.

Four secondary school students and eight university undergraduate students today competed in the Eureka! Symposium which was held at Wellington’s Victoria University.

The students made their presentations to an audience of political figures, business people, science entrepreneurs, academics, educators students and the public.

Opening the Symposium this morning the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Key, said the late Sir Paul Callaghan was one of the heroes of New Zealand science and was passionate about ensuring young people having the belief they can have a science and innovation career in New Zealand.

At the Awards ceremony this evening Science and Innovation Minister, Hon Steven Joyce, congratulated the finalists on the presentations they had made and noted that they would be the leaders of New Zealand’s science an innovation community in years to come.

Like everyone else in the audience he was elated by the passion and enthusiasm shown by the young people at the start of their careers.

Sir Paul Callaghan joined forces with the Rotary Club of Wellington not long before his death to establish the Awards in his name.

“This is a national competition and all finalists, because they were selected from a large group of very good entrants, all received a Sir Paul Callaghan Merit Award to recognise they are the best of this year’s entrants. The Merit Award includes a $1000 cash scholarship,” says Eureka! Symposium, and Sir Paul Callaghan Awards Convenor, Francis Wevers.

“This has been a very successful first outing for these awards which shows that New Zealand has an incredible depth of talent among its young scientists, mathematicians, technologists and engineers. We promise that next year will be even better as we continue to provide a platform for inspiring young people to enthral us with their grasp of the economic and social opportunities which exist for New Zealand to maintain its leadership role in the global challenges of the future. These students give us real hope,” he concluded.

“All entries have been judged on their ability to demonstrate:

o Polished and persuasive presentation skills which will inspire the audience to great enthusiasm about the future of science and innovation in New Zealand
o A thorough grasp of the science you have chosen to talk about with appropriate referencing
o Comprehensive articulation of the economic AND social benefits which will flow to New Zealand from the science and innovation you are promoting
o ALL in 15 minutes maximum!
The judging panel was:

• Dr Russ Ballard, Chancellor Massey University

• Ms Kim Hill, Broadcaster and personal friend of Sir Paul Callaghan

• Dr Andrew Coy, Chief Executive of Magritek Ltd

• Dr Charlotte Severne, Chief Scientist Maori and Oceans, NIWA

• Catherine Beard, Executive Director Exports and Trade New Zealand, Business NZ

• Paul Ridley Smith, General Counsel, Contact Energy

The Sir Paul Callaghan Awards for Young Science Orators are specifically focused on providing an opportunity for young New Zealanders who are as passionate about science and innovation as Sir Paul was to be able to inspire an audience of key decision makers. They will be the leaders of New Zealand’s economy in years to come.

The Awards and the Eureka! Symposium have been organised by a team from the Rotary Club of Wellington.

Gold Sponsors:

Science New Zealand
Business NZ
Ministry of Science and Innovation
Victoria University of Wellington

Silver Sponsors:

Air New Zealand
Contact Energy
Execam Ltd
Massey University
University of Otago
Zespri Ltd

Bronze Sponsors:

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc)
Magritek Ltd
Ministry of Primary Industry
Tertiary Education Commission
Weta Workshop

The 2012 Finalists for the Sir Paul Callaghan Awards for Young Science Orators were:

Secondary school finalists:

Yanni Cowie, Christchurch Boy’s High School – Alternative fuels: powering the change
Ben Guerin, Scots College – Distributed Power Systems: An energy revolution
Toby Hendy, Katikati College – Mind the gap – closing the IQ gap between social groups in NZ
Eugene Yang, Christchurch Boys High School – Meat minus the animals

Undergraduate finalists

Lisa Craw, University of Otago – The need for strong communication in science
Sylvie English, Victoria University of Wellington – Male reversible contraception
Hadleigh Frost, University of Canterbury - Building the Brain
William Guzzo, Victoria University of Wellington – Engineering a better future: using genetic engineering to fight cancer
Emma Livingstone, University of Canterbury – The wonderful world of pharmaceutical design
Thomas Moore, University of Otago – Frack to the future
Oliver ter Ellen, Victoria University of Wellington – Creating low cost solar cells for a brighter future
Scott Thomas, University of Canterbury – Life and Love on a pale blue dot

The videos of the finalists presentations will be uploaded to the Eureka website in the next few days.

© Scoop Media

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