Media Advisory June 16

Making, shaking and breaking – Professor Pickering talks materials

From the houses we live in and the cars we drive, to the computers and smartphones we use, much of our daily activity, comfort level and even happiness relies on our interaction with materials. In her Inaugural Professorial Lecture tomorrow evening, June 17, Professor Kim Pickering from the University of Waikato’s School of Engineering will use examples from her career to demonstrate how materials science and engineering is a key driver for technological development and national economic success. Professor Pickering’s background is in electronic materials and composites, including modelling the failure of composite materials and natural fibre composites. Her research includes projects such as the quick repair of carbon fibre epoxy aircraft structures, infra-red thermal imaging systems, natural fibre composites (wood, hemp, harakeke, wool and feathers) and 3D-printing with composite material. Her lecture will focus on elements of past and current research, as well as some “crystal-ball gazing” for future developments. Professor Pickering’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture, Making, Shaking and Breaking, is on tomorrow at 6pm in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The lecture is free and open to the public. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the University’s way of presenting new or newly promoted professors to the wider public.

Winter Lecture Series to look to the future

The future of business, online security, entertainment, and the city of Hamilton will be up for discussion in the University of Waikato Winter Lecture Series, held every Wednesday in August. All lectures will have a forward-looking theme as the University celebrates its 50th anniversary and looks to the next 50 years and beyond. Highlights of this year’s series include a conversation with Neil Everson, the force behind the revitalisation of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada from a “steel-worker” town to Ontario’s no. 1 city to invest in; Netsafe Executive Director Martin Cocker will lead a presentation on online safety and ways to protect you and your family from online crime; alumnus and TV presenter Jesse Mulligan leads a panel discussion on the future of entertainment and viewing; and alumnus and 37 Degrees South Independent Director Chris Insley looks at the roles of iwi and sustainability in the future of business. All lectures are free and open to the public, each Wednesday in August, 6pm-7pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.

Innovation among the innovators

An innovative digital app designed to provide mobile, location-based information at events was one of many University of Waikato innovations on show at Fieldays last week. The app, designed by Dr Annika Hinze and Associate Professor David Bainbridge from the Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, was being used in the Innovation section at Fieldays and allowed users to easily learn more about featured displays. The app runs on small tablets and provided key information about the Innovation displays using a location-based system which also provided text, images and videos. The location information was accessed via augmented reality or interactive maps, which can also be connected through GPS satellites, bluetooth beacons or simple QR codes. Dr Hinze says the app is adaptable to other event-based situations or location-aware information and can also include audio content and run on mobile phones.

Canterbury earthquake lessons to be discussed at Tauranga’s Café Scientifique

At Tauranga’s next Café Scientifique Dr Barry Davidson, Director of Compusoft Engineering and former president of the Structural Engineering Society of New Zealand, will examine the 2011 Canterbury earthquake damage, its causes and implications for everyone in New Zealand. Dr Davidson will also describe current structural seismic design philosophies, and the shortcomings of these approaches, and review some of the modern technologies that are expected to lessen the impact of the next ‘big one.’ 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 on Monday, June 23, 7pm 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: or email

Todd Foundation Awards for Waikato students

Four University of Waikato Science and Engineering students have been awarded 2014 Todd Foundation Awards for Excellence. They are Blaise Forrester-Gauntlett ($12,000), Kate Mauriohooho ($12,000), Alice Wang ($6600) and Chanelle Gavin ($2000). The Todd Foundation Awards for Excellence (Universities) are granted in order that a project or programme (whether in research or otherwise) is carried out in an approved university, usually in New Zealand, in a field of study which is likely to be of direct benefit to New Zealand and its people.

Surprise win for Waikato student boat builders

The banks of Oranga Lake at the University of Waikato were teeming with onlookers last week, as more than 30 student-built model boats battled it out as part of the annual University of Waikato Engineering Design Challenge. Each year, convenor of the Foundations of Engineering paper Dr Rob Torrens organises the boat building project for all first-year engineering students, who test their designs in a series of elimination races across the campus lake. The fan-propelled boats complete races around a course which test their manoeuvrability and whether they could last the day. Team Argentina won the final battle, which came as a surprise for first-year engineering students Sukhjit Pal Singh, Matthew Gerbich, Hamish Nicoll and Campbell Wray. Also in the team but absent on the day were Miriam Aitken, Pritpal Chahal and Ben Thornton. The race has been held, in some form or another, for about 12 years and has become a staple event on the calendar of Waikato engineering students.

Multi-award success for Waikato engineering student

Talented University of Waikato engineering student Lindi Engelbrecht is reaping the benefits of her hard work, winning two scholarships and two awards in recent months. Lindi recently received a Freemasons University Scholarship, alongside three other Waikato students. The $6000 scholarship rewards Lindi for both academic excellence and community involvement and was presented at a ceremony held in Wellington’s Parliament Buildings last month. Alongside this prestigious scholarship, Lindi was also recently awarded an Energy Education Trust Scholarship worth $5000, based on academic merit and a keen interest in the energy sector. In addition she has received a $1000 New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women (NZFGW) Waikato Graduate Women Engineering Prize and an Institute of Chemical Engineer’s (IChemE) Society of Chemical Engineers New Zealand (SCENZ) Award of Excellence for the top 2013 student at Waikato University studying chemical and process engineering.

Year 13 students to compete in chemistry challenge

This week, 96 Year 13 chemistry enthusiasts from around the central North Island will descend on the University of Waikato for the NZIC Analytical Chemistry Competition. Twenty-four teams of four will be set an analytical task, requiring accurate and careful analysis of an unknown substance. The results will be judged, with prizes and trophies awarded on the day courtesy of the sponsors: the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry Waikato Branch, Hill Laboratories and the University of Waikato. The event will be held at Waikato University’s Hamilton campus, on Wednesday, June 18 from 9.30am–4pm.

Speedy victory for St John’s at Waikato physics day

A team of students from St John’s College, Hamilton were the winners of the Model Car Speed Competition at day one of the University of Waikato’s 28th annual Osborne Physics and Engineering (OsPEn) Days. The lunchtime competition was part of the overall programme aimed at Year 12 and 13 students who are high achievers in science and included physics and engineering-themed lectures and practical demonstrations. Participating schools were sent a 3-volt electric motor and a set of nylon gears for students to work on in teams. Their aim was to design and build a small battery-powered model car that could travel a distance of five metres up a 4° inclined plane. The St John’s College team’s winning vehicle travelled the full distance up the ramp in the fastest time of 3.48 seconds, beating competitors, including the School of Engineering’s staff entry. On day two of the event Pukekohe Christian School took things one step further, with a time of 2.98 seconds. Over 500 students from as far afield as Auckland and Hawke’s Bay attended the two-day event.

Research Institute Scholarships on offer

The University of Waikato is once again offering 12 scholarships for doctoral and masters students. The doctoral scholarships are worth up to $85,000 for three years. The Institutes offering the scholarships are the Environmental Research Institute (ERI), the Institute for Business Research (IBR), the Institute of Professional Learning: Te Whai Toi Tangata (IPL), the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA), Te Kotahi Research Institute (TKRI), and the Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research (WMIER). The Research Institutes support world-class research in environmental science, demography and economic analysis, business and leadership, professional learning and development, education and Māori and indigenous development. Applications for these scholarships close on 30 June. For more information visit

Study questions answered at university information sessions

The University of Waikato has two Hamilton information sessions coming up where faculty staff and recruitment advisers will be available to answer questions about study, discuss study options and help potential students make plans for their futures. The information sessions are being held at the Student Centre on the University campus on June 18 and July 2 from 2pm-6pm. All are welcome.

Shirtcliffe Fellowhip for science student

PhD student Rebecca Gladstone-Gallagher from the Faculty of Science and Engineering has been awarded a 2014 Shirtcliffe Fellowship valued at $5000 a year for up to three years. Shirtcliffe Fellowships arise from a gift of $40,000 made to the University of New Zealand in 1935 by Sir George Shirtcliffe and are to assist students of outstanding ability and character who are graduates of a university in New Zealand, in the continuation of their doctoral studies in New Zealand or the Commonwealth.

‘Wonder drugs’ popular topic at Waikato biology event 

A talk covering the ‘wonder drug’ effect attracted a packed lecture theatre during the University of Waikato’s annual Waikato Experience Biology (WEB) Days. About 550 Year 12 and 13 secondary school students from around the central North Island attended the event from 10-11 June. University of Waikato Biological Sciences lecturer Dr Pawel Olszewski explained how misinterpretation of scientific findings goes as far back as the Babylonian era, when priests/scientists used the lunar eclipse to convince the king that he was at risk of death and that they had the answers to fix him. He says that these days the consumer is the king and companies are effectively the priests/scientists, who are telling us what food, medicine and other products we should buy to help us live longer, be thinner, and look better. He went on to show how claims made on product labels are often exaggerated, and do not give the consumer the full story.

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