2018 New Zealand Rutherford Lecture

The Life and Times of Supervolcanoes

Professor Colin Wilson, Victoria University of Wellington

7.30 pm Tuesday, 4 September, Palmerston North Boys’ High School Speirs Centre, Featherston Street, Palmerston North

There is no denying that our land is subject to tremendous natural forces. We may commonly experience this as a gentle, or sometimes a severe, shuddering of earthquakes. Yet with Aotearoa dotted with cones and calderas, Kiwis should also keep in mind that the Taupō Eruption was actually the world’s most violent volcanic eruption in the last 5000 years!

Colin Wilson has gathered many accolades for studying volcanoes, and in particular, those giant examples known as supervolcanoes. He likens his work to that of a crime scene investigator, where he travels the world piecing together the dual puzzle of why such cataclysmic explosions occur and why they are joined by much smaller eruptions. He aims to forecast volcanic phenomena with enough warning so that communities can respond. But although Colin is digging deep in the Earth’s crust to find the triggering mechanisms, volcanic systems are not letting their secrets go easily…

In 2017, geologist Professor Colin Wilson was awarded Royal Society Te Apārangi’s highest honour, the Rutherford Medal, for his research into understanding large, explosive supervolcanoes and the dangers they pose. The 2018 New Zealand Rutherford Lecture is presented by Royal Society Te Apārangi in partnership with GNS Science, EQC and Victoria University of Wellington.

 All warmly welcome!

 This is a free event, but please register to secure your seat at:


A Commercial Perspective on Chemical Analysis for Protection Against Food Safety Risks

Dr Justin Bendall, Fonterra Research & Development Centre

RSNZ Manawatu Branch August 2018 meeting – joint with the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry – Manawatu Branch

7.30 pm Tuesday, 21 August, Palmerston North Central Library, George Street, Palmerston North

Analytical chemistry has made an enormous contribution to public health by improving food safety. During the 19th century, there was widespread adulteration of food that could only be uncovered, and then controlled, by advances in analytical chemistry. Chemical analysis is now capable of detecting contaminants in food down to levels that were inconceivably low only a few short years ago. But this ability to measure contaminants at such trace levels brings with it some new consequences. This talk will discuss some of the great benefits from analytical chemistry to protect against food safety risks, as well as some of the potentially damaging pitfalls that laboratories may not always appreciate.

Justin Bendall is a Principal Research Scientist (Chemistry) at the Fonterra Research & Development Centre.

All welcome!