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Albany science labs open new opportunities

March 20, 2013

Albany science labs open new opportunities

When Dr The Rt Hon Lockwood Smith officially unveiled the plaque at the new Watson Science Laboratories at Albany campus on Thursday, he made an impassioned plea for more young people to consider studying science.

“Science education and these laboratories are just so important – we must make science more attractive and accessible to young people, and we must make science the automatic choice of study for our young people.”

It was a return to familiar territory. Twenty years ago Dr Smith officially opened the Albany campus, with a tree planting ceremony on the Oteha Rohe precinct. It was a fitting finale before Dr Smith and his wife Alexandra left New Zealand to take up his new role as New Zealand High Commissioner in London.

A former science lecturer before his career in television and then politics, Dr Smith has fond memories of his time as a student. “With Massey‘s applied science degrees, I saw first hand the synergy resulting from bringing together theoretical and applied learning. I saw students’ interest in more theoretical knowledge sparked by their involvement in practical areas that actually captured their interest and motivated them.”

The Watson Science Laboratories are named after Emeritus Professor Ian Watson ONZM, and his wife Patsy. “It’s a great honour, and totally unexpected,” Professor Watson says. “The name was a personal preference, because Patsy and I were such a partnership at Albany.”

Professor Watson was the first Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Massey University, and the first Principal of the Albany Campus. Mrs Watson was a senior lecturer in Nutrition at Albany campus and a former president of the New Zealand Nutrition Society. She was instrumental in bringing nutrition studies to Albany, and it remains the biggest science class on offer at Massey.

The laboratories have three physics teaching labs and an equipment room on the ground floor, with one laboratory able to be transformed into a completely dark environment for optics experiments. On the second level are four biology labs of varying sizes, with the latest ventilation technology and in-class bio-hazard showers.

ENDS

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