Confessions of an Activist

July 12, 2016

Dugald McTavish’s “seeds of activism” were sown when three projects threatened the Moeraki Boulders, and hewn as peak oil reared its head. As a water engineer he had the background knowledge, but how to get people interested? Thus the Hampden Community Energy Forum was born, filling the local community hall for three weekends in a row.

That group, started in 2004, is still going strong with a recycling shop at the local transfer station creating an ongoing revenue stream for its activities. It showed Dugald that lecturing didn’t work; “people don’t want to be preached to, so you have to do more projects.”

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Luminescence: The Spectrum of Science

June 27, 2016

Around 500 people visited “Luminescence: The Spectrum of Science” and left the one-day festival with a little more science lighting up their world. Most of the 500 attendees were our youngest bright sparks – primary school students from schools across the Wakatipu basin.

Audiences watched interactive demonstrations and met young scientists to talk about and explore the science and technology of light in this outreach project associated with the Dodd-Walls annual symposium and held in collaboration with Otago Museum and Catalyst.

Participants got to measure the width of their own hair with a laser beam, have their faces painted with fluorescent paint, discover how 3D movies and polarised sunglasses work, play with bre-optic cables like the ones which make the internet work, explore how white light splits into all the colours of the rainbow and lots more.

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