Big Science Day 2015!

Pyrotechnics, Martin Jetpacks, MSLB Simulators and YikeBikes will take over Cathedral Square on 31 October. The occasion? Science Alive’s inaugural Big Science Day, an all-day Science and Technology extravaganza suitable for families and people of all ages.

Big Science Day logoThe displays, demonstrations, science shows and workshops planned are too many to list, but here are some of the exhibitor highlights you can look forward to:

  • EVolocity will have a roped off circuit where people can take small electric vehicles such as bikes, low powered go-karts, scooters, etc. for a spin. If you own an electric bike / scooter / motor bike / go-kart / car, EVolocity invite you to exhibit your vehicle (if you are keen to bring your vehicle along, please email, or call Rob on 021 728 875).
  • Martin Jetpack – yes, the one that can take off and land vertically!

    Martin JetPack
    Photo courtesy of @Martin Jetpack
  • COBi Digital will demonstrate its aerial filming capabilities. Using the latest UAV cinema technology, a camera can be mounted on top of the drone allowing unlimited camera angles.
  • MSLB Simulators will show its fully immersive, motion enabled boat simulators to recreate the experience of driving a small boat.
  • Code Club Aotearoa will be running learn to code sessions for children and adults throughout the day. Build your first piece of working software and share your creation on the internet.
  • YikeBike will exhibit its fully electric folding bike – check out the way in which many of us could be moving around in the not-so-far future.

As well as showcasing cool stuff and Canterbury innovation, the Big Science Day will reveal the many possible career paths in the area. Be inspired by the exciting courses offered by CPIT, the University of Canterbury and Lincoln University, and see how science and technology are used by the Police, the Defence Force and the Fire Service.

Photo courtesy of @CPIT

Make sure also to pop in to The Imagination Station at Cathedral Junction – if you haven’t discovered it yet, it’s heaven for Lego enthusiasts of all ages. There’s a huge Lego pit with tens of thousands of Lego pieces, as well as a Duplo area for the wee ones, plus computers for those who like their Lego digital.

Rutherford Medallist – Dame Anne Salmond

Today, 14 October, is Ada Lovelace Day. Its aim is “Celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths”.

In New Zealand, Rutherford Medals are awarded annually to those making an exceptional contribution to science, mathematics, social science and technology. It is exciting to note that the last three winners have been women.

In 2013, the winner was social scientist Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond FRSNZ, University of Auckland

for her eminent work on Maori social structures and interactions with the European world, and on European exploration and engagement in the Pacific.

Anne Salmond signing
Photo of Anne Salmond taken at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival 2010. Flickr CCL-AWRF2010-05-14-P1090291

Her page on the University of Auckland site shows the range of her research interests, and an impressive array of honours and awards:

Key areas of interest include Maori and Pacific philosophies and ways of living, past and present; Enlightenment science and philosophies, and their Pacific legacies; Experimental futures emerging out of the exchanges between these philosophies and cutting edge science, Exploration and voyaging; environmental issues; ecological restoration.

Dame Anne is a well-respected New Zealander well beyond the scientific community. She was named New Zealander of the Year in 2013.

She speaks out bravely and forthrightly on New Zealand issues such as dirty politics and democratic freedom.

Search the catalogue for works by Anne Salmond
Cover of Bligh Cover of Hui Cover of Between worlds

Previous Rutherford Medal winners

2012: Distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble CNZM FRSNZ

for her world-leading contributions to the synthesis of bioactive natural products, including a new drug for traumatic brain injury funded by the US army. Professor Brimble was also awarded the 2012 Hector Medal and the 2012 MacDiarmid Medal.

2011: Professor Christine Winterbourn FRSNZ

for her outstanding achievements and discoveries in free radical biology which have established her as a leading world authority in this field.

Our previous Ada Lovelace Day posts

More on New Zealand women scientists

For interesting reading on New Zealand women scientists, try:

There are some excellent biographies in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand including: