Media Advisory November 25
LONG AND STRONG CAREERS RECOGNISED AT WAIKATO
An English expert, a statistician and an accounting professor were all honoured by the University of Waikato last week. Associate Professor Jan Pilditch and Dr William (Bill) Bolstad were made honorary fellows and recently retired Professor Stewart Lawrence was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor. All of them worked at the university for more than 30 years. Under Professor Lawrence’s guidance and leadership, the Accounting Department at Waikato Management School developed a strong sociological stance to its emerging research and postgraduate programmes, broadening the scope of the more traditional accounting discipline. Dr Jan Pilditch helped establish American Studies at the university, and made major contributions to the fields of New Zealand and Scottish studies, Victorian literature and women’s writing. Dr Bill Bolstad’s main contribution has been in his advocacy and scholarship in the area of Bayesian statistics, which resulted in two books on this topic. Introduction to Bayesian Statistics has been published twice, and a more advanced book, Understanding Computational Bayesian Statistics, was published in late 2009.
DEEP SEA OIL DRILLING IN NZ
Texas-based company Anadarko has permits for oil exploration in the Taranaki, Canterbury and Pegasus basins and intends to start drilling New Zealand's deepest exploratory oil well off the coast of Raglan any day now. Those opposed to deep sea oil drilling say New Zealand is not prepared for the risks involved, which could create widespread economic and environmental problems. University of Waikato experts in coastal and ocean science, energy and resources law, iwi perspectives and tourism economics will discuss these issues in a Google hangout on Wednesday, November 27 at 12pm. http://www.waikato.ac.nz/events/hangout/deep-sea-oil-drilling-nz.shtml. Questions can be asked on Facebook or on Twitter using the hashtag #uowhangout or on our Google + Page via the Hangout Q&A app.
WAIKATO UNIVERSITY SUPPORTS NZ YOUTH GAMES
The University of Waikato is sponsoring the 2013 New Zealand Youth Games taking place from December 5-10. Close to 4000 secondary school athletes from 17 sporting codes are expected to attend. The games will take place across Hamilton city, at venues such as Fraser High School, Claudelands Arena, Porritt Stadium and YMCA. For more information about the New Zealand Youth Games, visit www.nzyg.co.nz.
UNIVERSITY TO HOST TITANIUM CONFERENCE
In partnership with the University of Waikato, the Titanium Industry Development Association (TiDA) will host theInternational Titanium Powder Processing, Consolidation and Metallurgy Conference next month. The conference will promote titanium powder and processing, consolidation processes, alloy development and applications. Associate Professor Brian Gabbitas from the University’s Engineering Department is one of an international range of speakers who will present at the conference. For more information visitwww.tida.co.nz. The conference is being held at the University from December 2-4.
COAST TO CAVES – CHANGING ENVIRONMENTS THE FOCUS FOR SCIENCE SUMMER SCHOOL
Investigating Waikato’s coastal and cave environments will be the task for 40 top Year 12 students at the University of Waikato next month. The week-long action-packed Hill Laboratories Waikato Science Summer School will run from December 1-6, and gives the students from around the central North Island a taste of what it can be like to study science and engineering at a tertiary level. The Summer School is an annual event run by Rotary District 9930 and Waikato University’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, with sponsorship from Hill Laboratories. The week will begin with an overnight field trip to explore Kawhia Harbour and the surrounding coastline, the Ruakuri Caves and the Mangapohue Natural Bridge. The remainder of the week will be spent in the Faculty of Science & Engineering laboratories, completing experiments using samples taken during the field trip.
SUMMER SCHOOL ENCOURAGES MAORI AND PASIFIKA STUDENTS INTO BIOLOGY
For the first time, the University of Waikato is playing host to a new event aimed at encouraging Waikato Māori and Pasifika students to study biology at a tertiary level. The Te Huakirangi Māori and Pasifika Biology Summer School is a fun-packed week-long biology experience held on campus at Waikato University from November 30 to December 6. Twenty-three Year 11 students from Hamilton, Te Awamutu and Waitomo are lined up to attend the Summer School. During the event students will look at astronomy and extract DNA in the Faculty of Science & Engineering laboratories. They will have the opportunity to experience aspects of biology in real-world contexts.
TAURANGA CAFÉ TO EXAMINE KEY COMPONENTS OF LIFE AND EVOLUTION
What processes need to take place to enable a single cell to divide and create two daughter cells, and how do some cells lie dormant, yet alive, for long periods? Tauranga’s next Café Scientifique will discuss how evolution and life is linked to the critical interplay between energy and information. The University of Waikato’s Professor Vic Arcus from the Department of Biological Sciences will discuss the myriad, finely tuned processes involved in cells harvesting energy from their environment to live, and storing information in their genes to pass onto the next generation. Supported by the University of Waikato, Café Scientifique is a forum for discussing science issues, where anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. The next Café will take place today, November 25, 6.30pm for 7pm start at the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, 90 Keith Allen Drive, Sulphur Point, Tauranga. Entry is $5 and refreshments are provided. For more information please visit: www.waikato.ac.nz/go/cafescientifique or email firstname.lastname@example.org
STATISTICS CONFERENCE ON IN HAMILTON
A special joint conference between the New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA) and the Operations Research Society of New Zealand (ORSNZ) is being held at the University of Waikato this week (November 24-27). The conference will be attended by statisticians and operations researchers. The plenary speakers are from the University of California, University of Washington, University of Auckland, Massey University, Fonterra and Victoria University. The conference theme is "Analytics for a Changing World: From Data to Decisions". Some of the hot areas in statistics right now are "big data" (ie how to cope with analysing massive data sets from fields such as genotype studies, internet traffic and astronomy), the rapid leaps being made in the field of Bayesian Statistics, and changes to statistical education at the high school level.
GRANT TO EXPLORE OWNERSHIP OF GEOTHERMAL MINERALS
University of Waikato law professor Barry Barton has received a $69,000 grant to carry out a study of the ownership of rights to minerals found in geothermal fluids. Geothermal water and steam produced for electricity generation and heating contain dissolved minerals and gas which may have commercial value. One question in unlocking that value is ownership as the law on the matter is not clear, and various claims can be made to the minerals under different legislation and different rules of law. Professor Barton will examine the different possibilities under the current law, and will consider desirable law reform in order to provide clarification. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment grant is part of a two-year $400,000 GNS Science project, From Waste to Wealth: Commercial Recovery of Products from Geothermal Fluids. Professor Barton says it is a pleasure to be working on an interdisciplinary project with GNS Science geothermal specialists that could find new value in geothermal resources.
RESEARCH SHOWS PUBLIC HAVE LIMITED KNOWLEDGE OF WATER FLUORIDATION
Results from a recent survey undertaken at the University of Waikato indicate poor public knowledge of facts regarding water fluoridation, with an average score of 1.6 out of a possible 13 on a test of knowledge accuracy. The survey revealed a diversity of views, with more in favour (41.5%) of having fluoride in our water, than opposed (26.5%) – with 32% undecided. The joint project was led by Dr Carrie Cornsweet Barber of the School of Psychology at the University of Waikato and Associate Professor David Menkes of the University of Auckland. The study also found that those opposed to fluoridation had higher knowledge scores than those who were undecided or in favour. Another unexpected finding was that, in contrast to Pakeha, Maori tended to oppose fluoridation.
WORKSHOP COULD SEE NEW GROUP SET UP
A workshop hosted by a visiting expert in intercultural studies and hospitality could see a group specifically set up to welcome people to the region. The workshop, held earlier this month, was attended by community and volunteer organisations, along with University of Waikato staff and visiting academic Professor Alison Phipps, from the University of Glasgow. Prof Phipps is the Co-Convenor of GRAMNET (Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network) and used the workshop to gauge how the community could be better served to help them welcome people, including refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and minority groups. The idea was raised about establishing a network similar to GRAMNET in Hamilton but with a wider agenda. Other issues raised included issues of cultural diversity, food, shelter (especially a community housing scheme), communication and sharing of resources, the need for translation services and the training of volunteers, working together, care and compassion, knowledge exchange, empowerment and “better” community engagement.