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Sir Paul Callaghan’s Legacy Honoured

21 August 2012

Sir Paul Callaghan’s Legacy Honoured

The McGuinness Institute commends the Government’s decision to name the Advanced Technology Institute after Sir Paul

At a business breakfast held this morning to release the Building Innovation report, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced that the Government’s new Advanced Technology Institute will be named after the late scientist Sir Paul Callaghan. Chief Executive of the McGuinness Institute, Wendy McGuinness, attended the breakfast and was delighted to hear that the new government-funded technology institute will be named in honour of Sir Paul Callaghan.

‘Sir Paul vigorously committed himself to championing the place of science in transforming and advancing New Zealand, it is therefore fitting that his name will be attached to an institution that will continue this undertaking.’

McGuinness says ‘Sir Paul Callaghan was at heart a physicist; he studied ‘the particular’ in order to understand ‘the general’. He wanted to understand small events to make sense of big ones, applying the bottom-up approach rather than the top-down. This meant looking at successful New Zealand businesses to understand what makes an economy successful, and therefore a nation succeed. His book Wool to Weta was his attempt to assess what New Zealand does well. He believed there is a risk in the top-down approach; it is too easy to believe the hype and myths.’

The McGuinness Institute recently published the think piece, The Magical Place Where Science and Humanities Meet. This think piece is the result of discussions with some of New Zealand’s deepest thinkers over the last twelve months on how best to propel New Zealand forward. The discussions centred on how we might make New Zealand, as Sir Paul said, ‘a place where talent wants to live.’ Sir Paul was a great fan of Steve Jobs, who said of the intersection of humanities and science, ‘I like that intersection. There’s something magical about that place.’

The Government has committed $166 million over the next four years to establishing the new institute, previously referred to as the Advanced Technology Institute. It is intended to create better links between the worlds of business and science, particularly focusing on industries with significant growth potential such as food and beverage manufacturing, agri-technologies, digital technologies, and health technologies.

The details of the institute’s formal name is yet to be finalised but is expected to be confirmed by Cabinet in the coming weeks.


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