Environmental science obviously floats my boat, but for sheer drama and WTF, I go to the classics: physics, cosmology and maths. If you are also so inclined, then let me recommend the podcasts of Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time: Science radio series. These are available on the BBC Iplayer Radio ...
August 29, 2019Ngaire Phillips
It is now 50 years since Apollo 11 delivered Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin onto the surface of the Moon. Thinking that NASA’s Apollo program paid its way by giving us such technological marvels as non-stick frypans and pens that write in zero gravity is like thinking Richard Feynman’s greatest creation ...
July 28, 2019Ngaire Phillips
Sharing is caring, but not particularly so, when you must share your favourite bathing spot with bugs that make you sick! Freshwater bodies are susceptible to contamination and can serve as a vehicle for transmission of microbial pathogens. The ...
February 7, 2018Ngaire Phillips
It’s summer, everyone is at the beach, let’s have some fun. Either I was asleep when I was being taught this in school or my senility is progressing much faster than I thought, but the following that I recently read in a book* came as a complete (and delightful) surprise to ...
January 15, 2018Ngaire Phillips
Maths aside, we cannot ever truly know anything. Science does not prove things – it disproves things. This keeps us all in jobs, of course, arguing about what we think we know and don’t know. (Maths is different – mathematicians can prove things to be true. I don’t know whether ...
November 15, 2016Ngaire Phillips
I think you’d all agree that protecting our valuable natural resources while enabling social and economic growth is challenging. The recently recommended limit for nitrate in water of 0.8 mg/L proposed for the Tukituki River is ...
June 16, 2014Ngaire Phillips
Shortly after I posted my last blog about the health significance of nitrate in drinking water, the Guardian website ran a piece by Alex Bellos, author of the recently-published book Alex Through the Looking Glass: How Life Reflects Numbers ...
May 9, 2014Ngaire Phillips
Macroinvertebrates, or stream bugs, have been the focus of much debate amongst New Zealand’s freshwater science fraternity in recent times. To address declining water quality, the New Zealand government has proposed a National Objectives Framework (NOF), which includes a set of national bottom line values ...
April 22, 2014Ngaire Phillips
Every day, we make decisions that affect our health and well-being. Most of these decisions are based on some understanding of science, whether we realize it or not. Should I have that extra piece of cake (biology, chemistry)? Do I have enough time to cross the road before that car ...
April 7, 2014Ngaire Phillips
Reports of nitrate pollution of groundwater, with concentrations above the safe “New Zealand drinking water standard”, or World Health Organisation Guidelines, have been prominent in the media recently. This is particularly the case in Canterbury, where the Medical ...
March 24, 2014Ngaire Phillips