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Cafe Scientifique

Cafe Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Cafe Scientifique is currently held at Wholly Bagels, 34 Knights Road, Lower Hutt, on the last Thursday of each month starting at 6pm.

Indoor air quality: What tiny particles are in the air we breathe in? - 22/11/2018

We cannot see the small airborne particles that we breathe, nevertheless they can have significant impacts on our health.

What One-Cell Organisms Usually Do In Their Spare Time - 25/10/2018

Tiny does not always equate to insignificant.  Microscopic organisms are one of the main reasons humans can inhabit the Earth.  Sure, it took cyanobacteria about 3 billion years, but generating enough oxygen to build our atmosphere, thus allowing larger organisms to hang out in it, is not a trivial task after all.

Ruapehu and Tongariro – Tiny Crystals Reveal a Whole New Story - 27/09/2018

The chemistry and isotopic ratios in tiny mineral crystals in lava from the Tongariro National Park have helped us completely revise our understanding of the life histories of these dual world heritage volcanoes.

The Taputeranga Marine Reserve – How, why, what, where and when - 30/09/2018

The Taputeranga Marine Reserve is one of 44 marine reserves in New Zealand waters, established under the Marine Reserves Act for the ‘purposes of scientific study’.  This 854 ha marine reserve was established off Wellington’s South Coast just over 10 years ago after a 17 year application process run by Forest and Bird and the Wellington South Coast Marine Reserves Coalition.  A community group, the Friends of Taputeranga Marine Reserve Trust was established shortly afterwards to help the Department of Conservation manage it.

Electric Vehicle Battery Life - Market, Service, and Research Priorities for Securing EV Uptake in NZ

Rapid loss of energy-holding capacity in 30 kWh Nissan Leafs threatens to undermine the confidence of prospective purchasers to switch to electric vehicles. This seminar reviews the latest evidence for battery degradation and how the Flip the Fleet research team managed the uncertainties when publicising the results. The advantages and constraints of citizen science are illustrated by this politically and financially fraught public announcement.

Petroleum Exploration and Formation

Petroleum exploration is not the most politically popular activity with some people these days, due to the burning of fossil fuels; a major factor in climate change and sea level rise. However, what is frequently overlooked is that while we must develop 'low carbon' economies, it cannot be done overnight.

Whales in a changing ocean

Whales have had to contend with a lot of human interference, from early coastal whaling to the extirpation of whale populations from industrial whaling. Whales continue to be impacted by human activities, and not just our activities in the sea.

Bioplastics – Confusion and Misinformation - 29/03/2018

The word biobased invokes a feeling of saving the planet by carbon dioxide reduction, a cleaner environment, and a shift from a reliance on petrochemicals.  These positives can be true, so why is it taking so long for the world to shift its petrochemical plastic love paradigm?

Zealandia – Our Hidden Continent - 01/03/2018

One year ago, a group of New Zealand and Australian scientists published a paper in an international journal, GSA Today, explaining the basis for recognising Zealandia as a distinct ‘continent’.

Why Should We Care About the Southern Annular Mode? 30/11/2017

The storm-laden westerly winds blow across the Southern Oceans and brush New Zealand all year round. Their meanderings to the south and to the north have become known as the “Southern Annular Mode” or SAM.