Media Advisory April 29

For better or worse, the story of life on Earth starts with thermodynamics. It is the interplay of energy, information, evolution and life which is the topic for University of Waikato biologist Professor Vic Arcus' Inaugural Professorial Lecture, taking place tomorrow. During the lecture Professor Arcus will consider the quote from famous Oxford chemist Professor Peter Atkins who said of the second law of thermodynamics that 'no other law of science has contributed more to the liberation of the human spirit.' "I'll discuss whether the second law of thermodynamics contributes to our spirit or indeed, contributes to life on Earth at all," says Professor Arcus. His Inaugural Professorial Lecture, Energy, Information, Evolution and Life, takes place tomorrow, Tuesday 30 April, in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The Opus Bar is open from 5pm; the lecture begins at 6pm. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the university's way of formally introducing new or recently appointed professors to the wider community. All lectures are free and open to the public.

University of Waikato Professor Pou Temara received an Honorary Doctorate from the Whakatane-based Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, at its graduation ceremony on 19 April. Professor Temara, from the university's School of Māori and Pacific Development, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy (Hon Causa) in Māori Development and says it means a lot to receive the honour from the institution. "For one of the Māori universities to recognise my activities in that world is very meaningful to me," he says. The Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi has a close relationship with the University of Waikato and is part of the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Partnership.  

Former Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Professor Richard Price, has been awarded the title of Emeritus Professor by the University of Waikato. Professor Price was Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering for more than 12 years, from January 1998 until June 2010, and during that time also served on the university's Senior Leadership Team. Among the many milestones of his time was overseeing the establishment and development of the School of Engineering and accreditation for several Bachelor of Engineering programmes by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand and marking the 40th anniversary of the Faculty in 2009. Since stepping down as Dean, Professor Price has been based in Australia but he has retained his links with the University of Waikato through his part-time position as Research Professor in Earth and Ocean Sciences.

Work is on-going on a project to clean up the University of Waikato campus lakes. A central point on the University of Waikato campus, the campus lakes are enjoyed by students, staff and all those who use the university campus. However, over the past 40 years the shallow lakes have silted up. Work began in January this year to remove a large amount of silt from Oranga Lake (opposite the Village Green). The project is being overseen by University of Waikato sustainability coordinator Rachael Goddard and freshwater scientist Professor David Hamilton. To date, 1600 cubic meters of sediment have been pumped from Oranga Lake, 770 pest fish removed and 100 native eels transferred to nearby Knighton Lake. Pest fish barriers have also been installed to stop pests resettling in both lakes. A skip full of rubbish was also collected. The next stage of the project is the use of flocculant in the lake to improve the water clarity, and the creation of a rongoā and harekere garden for education purposes.

The first group of students have graduated from the Bachelor of Environmental Planning degree, introduced in 2011. The graduation ceremony for the Environmental Planning students was held at the Claudelands Arena this month and most of the new graduates have already secured jobs. Convener of the Environmental Planning Programme Pippa Wallace says the recently graduated students are intelligent, skilled and resourceful and were a pleasure to teach. "The students' varied backgrounds mean that they have brought different strengths to the programme. They all have inquiring minds, an active interest in the world around them and excellent people skills which have seen them develop strong friendships and networks that will travel with them into the future." The Bachelor of Environmental Planning degree at Waikato was recently professionally accredited by the New Zealand Planning Institute ensuring that these students have a rapid track to gaining their own professional recognition.

Master piano tunerGlenn Easley holds a master class at the University of Waikato this week. Easley received training at Steinway Hall under Bob Glazebrook, and has done concert tuning work at prestigious venues and events such as the BBC Proms, Wigmore Hall, and for concert pianists including Brendal, Ashkenazy, Kissin and Barenboim. The class takes place in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on Wednesday 1 May, starting at 4pm, and is free and open to the public. For more information email  

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