Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


UC scientist bugs out for Te Papa exhibition

UC scientist bugs out for Te Papa exhibition

From shaving the eye of a bee to zombie cockroaches, University of Canterbury Adjunct Professor Simon Pollard has spent the last year advising Te Papa and Weta Workshop on the new science exhibition, Bug Lab.

As the main external science advisor to Te Papa and Weta Workshop for Bug Lab, Dr Pollard has been spending two days a week in Wellington for almost a year working on the $5 million exhibition.

“I used my background as a scientist and science communicator to help develop bug stories that were beyond your imagination and could be realised as models by Weta Workshop and told by the team at Te Papa.

“For all of the different projects I have been involved in as a scientist, writer, photographer and documentary advisor, this just pushed all my buttons. I could not have wished for a better project and feel very privileged to have worked with such a talented team at Te Papa and Weta Workshop,” Dr Pollard says.

Visitors enter four immersive chambers, including the ‘operating theatre’ of the iridescent female jewel wasp to watch her turn a cockroach into a zombie on which her larva feeds. She is the devoted mother and killer brain surgeon of the bug world.

“Who couldn’t admire a wasp which injects a cocktail of venom into specific parts of a cockroach brain to turn it into a zombie, so it could be food and a nursery for the wasp's larva?”

The interactive exhibition, which took 40,000 hours to create, is open until 17 April 2017 (Easter Monday). After showing at Te Papa for the next five months, Bug Lab will tour the world.

The collaboration between Te Papa and Weta Workshop is unique in the museum world, Dr Pollard says.

“Where else would you find a Hollywood-level special effects company working with a small country's national museum?

“Weta worked very hard to make sure the bug models were as accurate as possible. For the model of Japanese honey bees defending themselves against a Japanese hornet, the hairs on the bees were inserted individually. Honey bees have hairy eyes and Weta shaved the eye of a dead bee to see how the hairs should be inserted into the eye.”

Dr Pollard has written a book, The Genius of Bugs (Te Papa Press), which showcases stories told in the exhibit as well as other bug stories. The book has been included in The NZ Listener’s list of top kid's books for 2016.

Dr Pollard was also the advisor for a spider sequence on the recent BBC Attenborough series, The Hunt. He spent three weeks in Singapore working on the sequence and said the final clip was “an astonishing achievement by a visionary producer and one of the best macro-cameramen in the world”.

When an edited version of the clip was shown on Facebook, just before the series came out in Britain, it was viewed more than 10 million times.

Next year, Dr Pollard will be working with Te Papa Press on a new book project and plans to give a UC Connect public lecture on telling the difference between science and pseudoscience.


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Cosmetics & Pollution: Proposal To Ban Microbeads

Cosmetic products containing microbeads will be banned under a proposal announced by the Minister for the Environment today. Marine scientists have been advocating for a ban on the microplastics, which have been found to quickly enter waterways and harm marine life. More>>

ALSO:

NIWA: 2016 New Zealand’s Warmest Year On Record

Annual temperatures were above average (0.51°C to 1.20°C above the annual average) throughout the country, with very few locations observing near average temperatures (within 0.5°C of the annual average) or lower. The year 2016 was the warmest on record for New Zealand, based on NIWA’s seven-station series which begins in 1909. More>>

ALSO:

Farewell 2016: NZ Economy Flies Through 2016's Political Curveballs

Dec. 23 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy batted away some curly political curveballs of 2016 to end the year on a high note, with its twin planks of a booming construction sector and rampant tourism soon to be joined by a resurgent dairy industry. More>>

ALSO:


NZ Economy: More Growth Than Expected In 3rd Qtr

Dec. 22 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the September quarter as a booming construction sector continued to underpin activity, spilling over into related building services, and was bolstered by tourism and transport ... More>>

  • NZ Govt - Solid growth for NZ despite fragile world economy
  • NZ Council of Trade Unions - Government needs to ensure economy raises living standards
  • KiwiRail Goes Deisel: Cans electric trains on partially electrified North Island trunkline

    Dec. 21 (BusinessDesk) – KiwiRail, the state-owned rail and freight operator, said a small fleet of electric trains on New Zealand’s North Island would be phased out over the next two years and replaced with diesel locomotives. More>>

  • KiwiRail - KiwiRail announces fleet decision on North Island line
  • Greens - Ditching electric trains massive step backwards
  • Labour - Bill English turns ‘Think Big’ into ‘Think Backwards’
  • First Union - Train drivers condemn KiwiRail’s return to “dirty diesel”
  • NZ First - KiwiRail Going Backwards for Xmas
  • NIWA: The Year's Top Science Findings

    Since 1972 NIWA has operated a Clean Air Monitoring Station at Baring Head, near Wellington... In June, Baring Head’s carbon dioxide readings officially passed 400 parts per million (ppm), a level last reached more than three million years ago. More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Sci-Tech
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news