PODCAST: John Watt and Amy Whitehead’s speeches from the MacDiarmid Scientist of the Year Awards 2009

FRS MacDiarmid Awards Logo2The MacDiarmid Young Scientist of the Year Awards were held last Thursday in Auckland.  The event awards aspiring young scientists who are making valuable contributions to New Zealand’s scientific effort, but they also place a strong emphasis on the ability of our rising scientists to communicate to the world at large their work and its value.

The speeches given by this year’s overall winner, John Watt, and overall runner-up, Amy Whitehead, can be listened to below.

Palladium nanoparticles

John Watt’s research looked at the creation of nanoparticles of palladium to improve vehicle emissions by removing toxic gases.  The precious metal is aptly named and extremely expensive, and his new method means both improved emissions and lower cost.  It’s also the first time in the world anyone has been able to exert such controlled influence over the metal.  A full summary of his work can be found here.


Saving the whio

Amy Whitehead’s research looked at providing accurate data on the New Zealand blue duck, otherwise known as the whio.  This iconic creature has experienced precipitous population decline in recent years, and Amy’s research, which joined computer modelling with habitat and populations surveys, has been used as a cornerstone of DOC’s conservation strategy for the bird. A full summary of her work can be found here.