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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.

Music From Tesla Coils - Electrifying!

Tesla coils, invented by Serbian-American Nikola Tesla in the 1890s, produce high-voltage electricity and have inspired many kinds of research, but he probably never expected them to be used to create unique sound and music. The arcs of electricity heat the air rapidly, and the movement of the air creates the sound, but slightly differently each time.

Simulating Space with Dr. Gernot Grömer - President, Austrian Space Forum

What does surviving a Saharan sand storm and exploring a giant ice cave with robots have to do with space exploration?

Cook Strait earthquakes - how likely is a big one?

Earthquake expert Russ Van Dissen discusses the effect the Cook Strait quakes are having on the chances of a big one rocking Wellington. He also talks about the behind-the-scenes work being done to minimise a potential quake’s impact.

3D Printing - Manufacturing a New World

3D printing is transforming the way we make things, all sorts of things - all the way from medical implants to guns! It’s also changing who makes things, where they’re made and who owns the designs. Eleanor Howick will talk about the technology behind it, and its strong connections with open source and open design.

Breaking the Diffraction Limit with Nearfield Photolithography

Dr. Ciaran Moore, School of Engineering and Computer Science, Victoria University of Wellington - Photolithography is one of the key technologies that makes possible the myriad of electronic devices and gadgets that we use each day from engine control units in motorcars to mobile phones that take pictures and connect to the web each of these could not exist at the same size, power rating, or price were it not for the photolithography process. The pace at which new improvements and refinements are introduced to photolithography is breathtaking, too, with the minimum feature size that can be resolved shrinking by half roughly every two years since the 1960’s.

Getting on with it – the effects of genetic testing

Genetic testing for familial breast and ovarian cancer has had recent media exposure following the announcement by Angelina Jolie that she carries a BRCA1 gene mutation. In New Zealand, families can request a risk assessment through Genetic Health Services NZ. The assessment involves collection of a detailed family cancer history. Genetic testing to look for a mutation in genes associated with hereditary cancer may be offered to families assessed as high risk and who meet certain criteria.

Geothermal Energy – Is there enough?

This talk will take a brief look at geothermal energy in New Zealand.

The Ecological View of Cats

Where do domestic cats fit in the complex hierarchy of good and bad predators? The domestic cat is New Zealand’s top carnivore. In the light of recent publicity and ill-informed debate, two critical points are:

Mad on Radium: New Zealand in the Atomic Age

New Zealand is known around the world for its nuclear-free stance – banning US nuclear ship visits, saying no to nuclear power, selling the country as clean, green, and nuclear free. But New Zealand was once as excited about the dawning atomic age as any other nation.

Toxic algae and dead dogs; what’s causing toxic blooms in the Hutt River?

Toxic algal blooms (cyanobacteria) have become common in many New Zealand Rivers. Large mats of black-green algae can cover large areas in rivers. Some algae species produce powerful neurotoxins are a serious health risk to humans and animals. In the Hutt River, toxic algae has been responsible for numerous dog deaths and health warnings on large parts of the river.