Sharing the beauty of science with others is an important role for the MacDiarmid Institute. We aim to inspire teachers, students and communities and to ignite – or reignite - a love of science.
Our investigators and students have a long and proud history of community engagement, from the DiscoveryCamp programme for Māori and Pasifika high school students to the physics teachers’ workshops.
The value of these activities is not just the impact they have on the broader New Zealand community, including budding scientists, but the experiences they provide our researchers.
Our community outreach programme is enhanced by our ongoing partnerships with various organisations and people.
The Spinoff: Building a new science audience
Whakarewarewa: Linking mātauranga Māori and western science.
MacDiarmid Institute investigators run a hands-on programme for high school physics teachers. We take workshops to teachers throughout the country in collaboration with the New Zealand Institute of Physics (NZIP) and the Dodd-Walls CoRE. The programme, which has been running since 2015, meets a real need as more than half of New Zealand secondary school teachers have had little university-level physics training. We aim to give our science teachers the tools to inspire a life-long passion for physics in their students.
It was unlike any professional development I’d ever done. I felt as though I’d had a deep massage of my brain in places that hadn’t been used for a long time.Dr Kerry Parker Physics and Science Teacher Wellington High School
The Kōrero with Scientists programme involves MacDiarmid Institute investigators teaching nanoscience directly to early childhood and primary teachers throughout New Zealand. These workshops explore physical science concepts such as magnets, light, and acids and bases. The experiments are designed to be run anywhere – schools do not need a science lab to replicate Kōrero science. Our partnership with the House of Science and Nanogirl also shares science know-how with primary school teachers and students.
Each year MacDiarmid Institute investigators travel to regional centres to deliver public lectures on materials science and nanotechnology and how they impact our lives. The series allows us to directly address members of the public and to raise awareness of how materials science can address global problems.
In the 2017 MacDiarmid Institute Regional Lecture Series: Women in nanoscience, three female MacDiarmid Institute nanoscientists tell their personal stories of life in science. Professors Penny Brothers and Cather Simpson, and Dr Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl) give their own perspectives on what it is like being a woman in the physical sciences (physics, chemistry or engineering).
August 7, 2018
MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator Dr Franck Natali and friend of the Institute Dr Michelle Dickinson, also known as Nanogirl, speak about the unique history of materials in New Zealand and the future problems we may face obtaining both these, and new, materials.
September 21, 2016
The age of fossil fuels is coming to an end. Global warming from their burning is undeniable, but when will tomorrow begin? Will it be a smooth transition into renewable energy? Is there even enough sunlight striking the Earth to supply the increasing energy demands of 6-9 billion humans? Can our renewable energy sources be enough for a nuclear-averse country like New Zealand?
July 30, 2015
Each year we hold a cluster hui on nanoclusters where MacDiarmid Institute scientists from several universities present a huge range of work within the cluster umbrella. The informal atmosphere of the cluster hui facilitates lively discussion and enables students to engage with each other’s projects.
The annual NanoCamp and DiscoveryCamp for Year 12 and 13 secondary school students are hugely popular. The five-day, all-expenses-paid residential programmes give students the opportunity to learn about nanoscience through lectures and lab experience with MacDiarmid Institute investigators. The DiscoveryCamp programme is for Māori and Pasifika students to enhance their science knowledge, inspire a love of discovery and help them carve out a career in science. Each summer we also offer four DiscoveryCamp alumni the opportunity to gain further hands-on experience and knowledge in our MacDiarmid Institute labs.
The experience was really indescribable and has reawoken to me why I love science so much.Shania NanoCamp attendee
A group of New Zealand's brightest high school science pupils from across the country spent a week in Wellington getting an introduction to nanoscience and advanced materials during NanoCamp. The 2019 cohort made a video showing their hands-on experience in spintronics, microscopy, nanoelectronics, chemistry, and optics.
January 29, 2019
Every January, a group of science-savvy and passionate Year 12 and 13 Māori and Pasifika students attend DiscoveryCamp, a one week science camp hosted by the MacDiarmid Institute. The 2018 cohort of DiscoveryCamp students made a short video of their time in Wellington showing the fun and hands-on work they did in and out of the lab with some of New Zealand’s top researchers.
January 25, 2018