Fascination Science

A free lecture series

Reserve the last Tuesday of each month to hear from some of the leading minds in science today. Massey University Auckland scientists take you into the fascinating world of scientific discoveries.

Most lectures are held on the Massey Auckland campus in the Sir Neil Waters lecture theatre. The lecture on 24 April is held in the Massey Business School Auditorium. See map on the right.

Lectures start at 7pm.

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Upcoming events

Tui sitting on cherry blossom tree singing

Breathing and heart rate: the benefits of mathematics

Tuesday 27 February, 2018
Dr Alona Ben-Tal

Alona Ben-Tal Mathematical modelling has a long history of providing useful insights to physiological processes. Join Alona to hear about the benefits of deep-slow breathing, the weird and wonderful way birds breathe, and how mathematical modelling can help us treat heart disease. Alona uses mathematics to understand breathing and heart rate control and finds her work surprising and fascinating.

Dr Jane Allison sitting at her computer with molecule map on screen

Making movies out of molecules

Tuesday 27 March, 2018
Associate professor Jane Allison

Jane Allison Biological molecules carry out all the jobs that are essential for life, and their malfunction can lead to disease. To understand how they work, we need to know what they look like and how they move. Computer simulations can provide us with this kind of information - essentially, they allow us to make movies of molecules. Jane will explain how to use computer modelling to make movies of molecules, and give some examples of the biological insight that we can obtain from computer simulations.

Whales stranded on a beach

Whale rescues: wildly irresponsible or responsible for the wild?

Tuesday 24 April, 2018
Dr Karen Stockin

Karen Stockin Despite costly, logistically challenging efforts to rescue live whales during a stranding, there remains a disconcerting lack of animal welfare evidence, including the impacts of human manipulation and the fate of rescued individuals. Karen talks about a record breaking 600 whale stranding event in Feb 2017, and the social, ethical and animal welfare issues surrounding rescue attempts. She offers considerations for future discourse, research and practice in the broader context of conservation welfare.

*Note this lecture is in the Massey Business School lecture theatre on the Auckland campus in Albany.

Illustration of cold planet

How New Zealand is discovering cold planets

Tuesday 29 May, 2018
Associate Professor Ian Bond

Associate Professor Ian Bond More than 3000 planets orbiting other stars have been found. Most of these are warm/hot planets that orbit close to their host stars. Here in New Zealand the technique of gravitational microlensing is used to discover colder planets in more distant orbits. This is the last unexplored realm of exoplanet space but very important in understanding planet formation and even addressing habitability. This lecture will cover how we use microlensing in NZ starting from the first planet discovered by this technique through to the latest results. We will also look at future plans to work with NASA to use microlensing to find planets from space.

Student using oculus rift

Virtual reality: how does it work and what does it mean?

Tuesday 26 June, 2018
Dr Daniel Playne

Dr Daniel Playne The main ideas behind Virtual Reality and the modern advancements in technology will be discussed, along with the major challenges still facing developers.

Warning: may include interactive demos!

Previous Fascination Science lectures

Find out more about previous speakers and their topics.

Previous lectures

Study sciences at Massey

Massey University offers study programmes at the undergraduate and postgraduate level, including unique degrees like the Bachelor of Natural Sciences and data science major in the Bachelor of Information Sciences and Bachelor of Science.

Sciences research at Massey

Massey University demands excellence in our research.We bring together world-leading experts from several disciplines to further knowledge and make a difference in New Zealand and the world.


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All lectures take place from 7–8.30pm unless noted otherwise.


Sir Neil Waters Lecture Theatre
Massey University Auckland, Albany

Maps of campus

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