Author: Laurie

Controlling light with electric fields

Researchers have discovered a technique for electrically manipulating light via atomically-thin semiconductors. A quick look at today’s electronics marketplace highlights the fact that we’ve never understood more about controlling electrons. Photons, on the other hand, are more challenging. They are electrically-neutral, so they cannot be directly manipulated...


Richard Faull: A life in science is a life spent helping others

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of interviewing leading neuroscientist, Professor Sir Richard Faull, on behalf of Brain Research New Zealand (BRNZ). It was one of the most memorable interviews I’ve ever done – Richard’s intellect and passion for science are crystal-clear, but it was his overriding love of helping people that really stuck...


Could dye-sensitised solar cells work in the dark?

Chinese researchers believe they’ve gotten a step closer to producing all-weather photovoltaics by integrating phosphors into solar cells Solar power is playing an ever-greater role in our energy landscape, and its efficiency continues to improve. However, to date, photovoltaic systems can still only produce power when the sun is in the sky. But a group of...


Science and the Sydney

Monday 15th May came with a very, very early start. With my taxi booked for 4.30am, I really needed an early night. Unfortunately though, sleep didn’t arrive, so it was a Laurie-shaped shadow that kissed a sleeping RJ, and crawled out the door, dragging a case behind me. With no traffic to slow us down, the cab made it to Wellington Airport in just 25mins....


Sticky

Almost exactly three years ago, I signed a document that changed my life – the book deal for Science and the City. It marked the first step on the steepest learning curve I’ve been on to date. 2+ years of researching engineering topics, reading scientific papers and industry reports, visiting labs and construction sites, doing calculations,...


Forbes: March and April 2017

Hi all! If you’re new to this blog / my Twitter account, you might not know that I write about the science of cities for Forbes, usually 3-5 stories each month. Below, you’ll find summaries and links to each of my stories published in March and April 2017, but you can also view my entire portfolio here. MARCH A Volcano Erupts In Auckland…. In...


By Piet Spaans Viridiflavus (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by fish: Designing a high-performance, flexible armour

A group of Canadian researchers have investigated the optimal design for lightweight armour, using 3D printing and mechanical testing If asked to suggest animals that use armour to protect their soft, squishy innards, you might think of the quills of a porcupine, the thick hide of a rhino, or the hard shell of a tortoise. But there is another class of natural...


Women are literally boring.....

Tunnels, that is. Back in August, I met Catherine, co-founder of a new and utterly brilliant blog called ‘Women Are Boring‘, which shares fascinating research by women from all over the world. She wanted to interview me about my book just before my Dublin launch (you can read the interview here), and I’ve been a regular reader of the blog ever...


Forbes: January and February 2017

Right, (long overdue) Forbes update time! Below are intros and links to each of the stories I wrote for Forbes in January and February 2017. They’re a rather eclectic bunch, so I hope everyone will be able to find something in here especially for them! JANUARY 2017 Reading The Road: How Will Driverless Cars Talk To Pedestrians? It’s amazing how many...


Making capacitors and capturing carbon dioxide… using Coca Cola®

An international consortium are using the world’s most popular soft drink to produce a host of carbon-based storage materials With 1.9 billion servings sold per day worldwide, Coca Cola® is the most popular soft drink on the planet. But a consortium, led by scientists at Curtin University in Australia, haven’t been using their stockpile to quench their...