Thursday, 21 November 2002
14 Scientists Elected Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand
The Royal Society of New Zealand has elected 14 new Fellows and 3 Honorary Fellows to its prestigious science academy.
Their work covers a wide spread of disciplines and research areas, from the heat stability of milk to infantile amnesia
and the underground storage of greenhouse gases.
The selection process is rigorous, involving discipline specific selection panels and independent international review.
Only a small number from those nominated are ultimately selected.
President of the Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand Professor Paul Callaghan FRS FRSNZ said, "It is
very pleasing to see the relatively high number of women scientists coming through. We expect the trend to continue as
more women attain senior positions." New Zealand currently has 307 Fellows, 25 of whom are women.
The new Fellows are:
John Abrahamson¸ Associate Professor in Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Canterbury. By seeking the
fundamental reasons for the behaviour of particulate solids, Professor Abrahamson has found common themes in ball
lightning and dust collectors, in snow avalanches and turbulence promoters. He was among the first to report on the
'carbon fibres' that have come to be known as nanotubes.
Patrick Richard Lee Browne, Associate Professor, Geothermal Institute, University of Auckland. Professor Browne is one
of the leading authorities worldwide on the study of active and fossil geothermal systems. His meticulously detailed
studies and seminal interpretations of New Zealand geothermal systems have made them international benchmarks.
Alan Muirhead Crawford, Platform leader, Animal Genomics, AgResearch. World renowned for his research into sheep
genomics, Dr Crawford was one of the first people to realise the utility of simple sequence repeats or microsatellite
markers in genetic linkage studies. His research group has also made outstanding contributions in the discovery of genes
associated with reproduction, disease resistance and production traits.
Robert Olin Davis, Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Canterbury. An international leader in the development
of geotechnical engineering, Professor Davis has made influential contributions with his work on constitutive models of
soils, seismic liquefaction and his introduction of thermodynamic concepts into continuum mechanical descriptions for
John Roger Flenley, Professor of Geography, Massey University. An innovative natural scientist, Professor Flenley has
pioneered the study of Quaternary interactions between humans and the environment in the Pacific region. His research
concerns the impact of colonisation and the prehistory of interactions between people and the environment.
Rosalind Susan Gibson, Professor in Human Nutrition, University of Otago. A leader in the field of human nutrition,
Professor Gibson is a frequent consultant for international agencies. She has combined basic laboratory research with
worldwide field studies to develop home-based methods for combating nutritional deficiencies.
Harlene Hayne, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Otago. Professor Hayne's work on the development of
memory has influenced the direction of research in laboratories around the world. Her work examines infantile amnesia
and deferred imitation in infancy, in age-related changes in memory and in the way children are able to provide accurate
David Kelly, Associate Professor in Plant and Microbial Sciences, University of Canterbury. Often challenging accepted
theories, Professor Kelly is an innovative plant ecologist whose work is placing New Zealand's plant communities on the
international stage. He is well known for his work on the erratic production of seeds called 'masting' and on climate
change evidence from the native grass Chionochloa.
Kenneth John Dallas MacKenzie, Associate Professor in Chemistry, Victoria University of Wellington, and Senior
Scientist, Industrial Research Limited. Professor MacKenzie is recognised for his excellence in the fundamental research
of the chemistry of ceramics, minerals and inorganic materials. He is especially noted for his work using Mössbauer
spectroscopy and solid state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.
Robert Iain McLachlan, Professor in Mathematics, Massey University. An international leader in the mathematics of
geometric integration, Professor McLachlan has pioneered work in the theories of composition and splitting methods,
Lie-Poisson integrators, symplectic integration and in the numerical treatment of constrained Hamiltonian systems.
Alison Ruth Mercer, Associate Professor in Zoology, University of Otago. Professor Mercer has made far-reaching
contributions to research on learning and memory. Using animals like insects that undergo metamorphosis, she has been
able to study brain development and the role of biogenic amines in the functional development of the central nervous
Harjinder Singh, Professor of Dairy Science and Technology, Massey University. A world authority on the chemistry of
milk proteins, Professor Singh has made major contributions to research on the heat stability of milk, the functionality
of milk protein products and the coagulation of milk by acid and rennet. Robin Andrew James Smith, Professor in
Chemistry, University of Otago. Professor Smith has achieved notable successes in multi-disciplinary work. One such
collaboration, which led to clinical trials and commercialisation, involved synthesising biologically active molecules
with the potential for treating diseases of mitochondrial malfunction, such as Freidrich's ataxia, Huntingdon's disease
and Parkinson's disease.
Graham John Weir, Team Leader, Applied Mathematics, Industrial Research Limited. Dr Weir has applied mathematics to
practical problems of considerable importance to New Zealand. He has made significant contributions to our understanding
of mineral exploration, granular flows in industrial processes, underground storage of greenhouse gases, and lahar
Three new Honorary Fellows were also elected. This honour is given to eminent New Zealand scientists living overseas,
who maintain close New Zealand links.
Mark Warner, Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge. A leading physicist in the field of soft condensed matter,
Professor Warner has developed definitive, prize-winning theories on liquid crystalline and other ordered, non-linear
elastomers. His recent work on soft elasticity and mechanico-optical coupling in elastomers won him the Humboldt
Warwick F. Vincent, Professor of Limnology, Université Laval, Canada. An eminent aquatic scientist, Professor Vincent
has made major contributions to New Zealand's lake and ocean ecosystems, and to research in the Ross Sea sector of
Antarctica. His studies have ranged from nuisance algal blooms in lakes to the role of ultra-violet radiation and
climate change on aquatic systems.
Jillian Frances Evans¸ Director, Merck/MRL, USA. Dr Evans, an authority on the biochemistry and pharmacology of
prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and lipoxins, directs research on new drugs for asthma and colon cancer. Her major current
focus is the identification of several new receptors as targets for drug development.