History of science in New Zealand, 2015 conference

Where: Victoria University of Wellington

When: 23-24 November, 2015

2015 is a significant year for New Zealand science history: it is 150years since James Hector arrived in Wellington to set up many of our national science organisations; and 100 years since Ernest Marsden arrived in Wellington to join Victoria College.

In 1865 Hector was appointed head of the New Zealand Geological Survey, with his responsibilities eventually including the Colonial Museum, Colonial Observatory, Meteorological Service, Colonial Botanic Gardens, and the New Zealand Institute. In 1915, Marsden arrived in New Zealand to be professor of physics at Victoria College, now University. He stayed in this position for seven years then, in 1926, was appointed head of New Zealand’s Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, a position he held until 1946.

Victoria University is pleased to announce an academic conference to celebrate these anniversaries focusing attention on New Zealand’s science history and building momentum for the Royal Society of New Zealand’s 150th anniversary in 2017 and the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the first European scientists in 2019.

Expressions of interest are called for:

James Hector's geological map of New Zealand, 1873

James Hector’s geological map of New Zealand, 1873

Day one, 23 November 2015: James Hector and 19th century science in New Zealand

Papers particularly welcome on topics/themes such as:

  • James Hector and his life in science
  • Hector’s scientific contemporaries, eg, Colenso, Hochstetter, Haast, others
  • Histories of the New Zealand Geological Survey, Colonial Museum, Meteorological Service, Colonial Observatory, Colonial Botanic Gardens
  • Other histories of 19th century New Zealand science, scientists, science organisations and museums
  • Hector’s legacy in New Zealand today

 

Ernest Marsden, head of New Zealand's DSIR from 1926 to 1946. REF: natlib.govt.nz:tapuhi:1/4-018564\F

Ernest Marsden, head of New Zealand’s DSIR from 1926 to 1946. REF: natlib.govt.nz:tapuhi:1/4-018564\F

Day two, 24 November 2015: Ernest Marsden and 20th century science in New Zealand

Papers particularly welcome on themes such as:

  • Ernest Marsden and his life in science
  • Marsden’s scientific mentors and contemporaries, eg, Rutherford, Fleming, Cotton, others
  • History of the DSIR and its constituent agencies
  • History of the physical sciences in New Zealand
  • The mobility of scientists during wartime, changing networks and connections
  • Other histories of 20th century New Zealand science, scientists, science organisations and museums
  • Marsden’s legacy in New Zealand today

 

Conference committee: Rebecca Priestley, Gillian Turner (School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, VUW), Simon Nathan (GNS Science), Kate Hunter, Jim McAloon (School of History, Philosophy, Political Science & International Relations , VUW), Conal McCarthy (School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies, VUW)

A Call for Papers will be made in November 2014.

Conference presenters will be invited to submit their papers for publication in a special issue of the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, focused on the history of science in New Zealand. Submissions will be required by 23 December 2015 for a special issue (or issues) to be published in 2017, to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

In the meantime, please direct all comments and enquiries to Rebecca Priestley at NZhistsci2015@vuw.ac.nz

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