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New Zealand Science Running Hot at Conference

New Zealand Science Running Hot at Conference

Running Hot: Science in New Zealand Conference
When: Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 November, 2006
Where: The Arts Centre, Christchurch

Some of the hottest issues in New Zealand science will be under the microscope at the inaugural Running Hot: Science in New Zealand conference in November.

Running Hot will focus on the future of New Zealand science, and is a chance to get to grips with some of the big issues and check out some of science’s current and future stars.

New Zealand’s top emerging scientists will be showcased together with distinguished national and international speakers, who will be invited to share their perspectives on some of the burning topics in science, including:

- What are the “hot” research areas in New Zealand science, now and in the future?

- What are the benefits to New Zealand society from current research?

- How do we encourage people to become scientists?

- How do we strike the balance between collaboration and competition?

Speakers include celebrated international scientists such as:

Kathy Sykes, a BBC Television presenter and Professor for Public Engagement in Science and Engineering at the University of Bristol, who has been called one of the smartest and most influential women in Britain. Well known from her appearances on popular TV shows such as ‘Rough Science’, in September she won the 2006 Royal Society Kohn Award for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science.

Dr Paul Zorner, an expert in both biotechnology and business. He is the Senior Director for Business Development at Diversa Corporation, where his responsibilities include business and strategic oversight of biofuels programs, and he has a long history of working for leading biotechnology companies.

Professor Robert Jaffe of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, groundbreaking physicist, acclaimed teacher and former chair of the MIT Faculty. He is a big name in a field dealing with the smallest of things – elementary particles such as quarks.

Alongside them will be young, rising talents of New Zealand science such as:

Claire French, the MacDairmid Young Scientist of the Year for 2006. A PhD student at the University of Auckland, she is developing a new method for identifying whether cell samples collected for DNA testing come from the skin, mouth or the vagina, which has the potential to help solve sex crimes.

Dr Alexei Drummond, a lecturer of bioinformatics at the University of Auckland and Chief Scientist of Biomatters Ltd. He won the University’s best doctoral thesis in the Faculty of Science in 2002 and led the team that developed a programme that was recently the most downloaded software on Apple’s Math and Science website.

Other high-flying Kiwis speaking include:

Anne Firth Murray, biologist, activist, founding president of the Global Fund for Women and (as one of a group of 1000 women) a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Professor Paul Callaghan, nuclear physicist, Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and one of New Zealand science’s most eloquent communicators.
Running Hot is hosted by the Oxygen Group, a group of younger scientists brought together by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST) to explore emerging cross-disciplinary issues in science, strengthen leadership in the sector and encourage the emergence of new ideas.
More information about the Oxygen Group is provided at the bottom of this release.
It is the Oyxgen Group and MoRST’s pleasure to invite you to attend the conference, which will be held in the historic venue of the Christchurch Arts Centre, next to Rutherford’s Den where New Zealand’s most famous scientist was educated and carried out his earliest research.
To find out more about the conference and the speakers, to view the programme, and register, please visit the Running Hot website -
If you have any queries about registration, accommodation or payment or to order registration brochures please contact :


The Oxygen Group is a forum of 10 bright younger scientists who are among the emerging leaders in New Zealand’s science sector. The Group was set up by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST) in 2005, to help the Ministry hear the voices and to tap into the experience of younger scientists.

As the name suggests, they are there to provide a breath of fresh air and fuel the fire of New Zealand science.

Among the Group’s roles are:

- Inspiring other younger scientists to become leaders in the science sector and get more involved in mapping the future of science in this country;

- Improving the links between science disciplines;

- Keeping an eye on current trends in science and technology both here and internationally, considering their implications for this country, and advising MoRST on them;

- Stimulating new ideas about how we do science in New Zealand.

The members of the group come from a wide range of science disciplines, including the biosciences, social science, the information technology (IT) sector, chemical and physical sciences, geosciences and Mātauranga Māori or Māori knowledge.

The group is mentored by two of the most prominent and respected figures in New Zealand science: Professor Paul Callaghan of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology and Neville Jordan, President of the Royal Society.


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