Author: Laurie

RocketLab add a temporary star to the night sky

Before moving to NZ, I wrote a list of Kiwi companies that I would love to work for. Right at the top of that list was RocketLab. Founded by New Zealander Peter Beck, and headquartered in California, RocketLab has a manufacturing and R&D base in Auckland, and a launch site in the beautiful Māhia Peninsula in Hawke’s Bay). Unfortunately, neither of its NZ...


2017: My first year down under (Part 2)

Ok, I’m back. Have you caffeinated up? There are six more months of life/work in NZ to cover… I’m fully aware that this is now becoming more of a journaling exercise than an attempt to write something that one of my followers might be itching to read. Forgive me! JULY July was a very chilled out month. I’d finished my Sustainable Seas project at the end...


2017: My first year down under (Part 1)

Happy New Year to you, my lovely friends! As an official representative of the future (at the time of writing, NZ is 13 hours ahead of UK/Ireland), all I can say, so far, so good… assuming you ignore the state of world politics, OBVS. Anyway, let’s detour around that particular rabbit hole just for a moment. In case you haven’t already guessed it, this is...


Science-y Christmas Gift Guide

Ho-ho-ho, Merry Chri… Ok, I have to be honest, it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere, which means I’m not feeling particularly festive. This will be my second NZ Christmas, and I’ve had an excellent first year of living here, but I’m still struggling to get my head around the warm, BBQ-filled, antipodean version of the festive season. So, to help me...


The Art and Science of Making Materials

UCL’s Professor Mark Miodownik is a materials engineer, broadcaster and writer, and recipient of this year’s Michael Faraday Medal from The Royal Society. We talked to him about his career, the multidisciplinary Institute of Making, and his lifelong love of materials. Institute of Making’s Festival of Stuff (taken from Twitter) Your role at UCL is...


SciFoo 2017

If you’re a science-y person with a public profile, you tend to get a lot of email invites to bogus-sounding conferences, which you promptly (and very wisely) ignore. So when this email popped up in my inbox in May, I gave it a cursory glance, and almost deleted it. I’m very glad I didn’t. SciFoo – also known as Foo Camp – is a gathering that’s...


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....