Fascination Science

A free lecture series

Come and hear from some of the leading minds in science today. Massey University Auckland scientists take you into the fascinating world of scientific discoveries.


All lectures start at 7pm followed by drinks and nibbles.

Illustration of resistant antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance: how did this happen and what will we do next?

Dr Heather Hendrickson

28 February 2017

The World Health Organization has called antibiotic resistance a serious global public health threat. Scientists and politicians alike have declared that we are bound for a “post-antibiotic era”, where minor scratches or common procedures like childbirth may lead to death. 

Antibiotic resistance is the outcome of the ways that we have used these precious drugs since their discovery. This has also come about because of the unique ways that bacteria (the good and the bad) are able to evolve. Come and learn about what is being done to understand how antibiotic resistance evolves in bacteria, what we can do to preserve antibiotics and the strategies that scientists are coming up with in order to fight dangerous bacterial infections in the future. 

Illustration of gravitational waves

Gravitational waves: Listening in to the sounds of the universe

Professor Joachim Brand

28 March 2017

Predicted a century ago by Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, gravitational waves were observed last year for the first time. This discovery not only serves as another verification of Einstein's theory but it also ushered in a new era for Astronomy. 


This lecture will explain how the detection of gravitational waves resembles listening more than seeing and how the merging of two black holes was 'heard', a discovery that most likely could never have been made with conventional telescopes. We will also look at amazing technology of laser interferometry that made their detection possible and the development of quantum technologies that will make future detectors even more sensitive.

Nanoparticles photo

The holy grail: new porous materials with beautiful structures and unparalleled functions

Professor Shane Telfer

26 April 2017

Porous materials have fascinated humankind since the Greeks discovered zeolites: stones that could give off water.  Of late, a new class of porous crystals has been discovered.  Known as metal-organic frameworks, they have beautiful architectures that can be tuned at the molecular dimension.

The structures and applications of these materials is only limited by the imagination.  Can they be used to sequester CO2 directly from air?  Is the targeted delivery of bioactive payloads in the human body possible?  Find out what we know, and what we hope to find out, about these fascinating materials.

Professor Gaven Martin with illustration on screen

Mandelbrot and fractals: the geometry of chaos

Distinguished Professor Gaven Martin

30 May 2017

Fractals and fractal structures are ubiquitous in nature where small scale symmetries are repeated at ever larger scales or large scale symmetries repeated at ever finer detail. We can see this in snowflakes and in the Mandelbrot set.

The remarkable fractal Lorenz Butterfly (the butterfly effect) arising from simple models of weather predictions shows fractal structures naturally arising in chaotic systems. 

The mathematical concept is difficult to define formally even for mathematicians, but key features can be understood with little mathematical background. We will discuss these, along with the notion of fractional dimensions (a measure of the scaling properties of an object) and emergent structures in dynamical systems. 


Like to attend?

These events are free, but please rsvp so we know numbers that will attend. All lectures are in the Sir Neil Waters Lecture Theatre, Massey Auckland campus.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Study sciences at Massey

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Sciences research at Massey

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About the speakers

Heather Hendrickson

Dr Heather Hendrickson

Professor Joachim Brand

Professor Shane Telfer

Professor Shane Telfer

Gaven Martin

Distinguished Professor Gaven Martin

DR Libby Liggins

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Sir Neil Waters Lecture Theatre
Massey University Auckland

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