Community and Education news

Science journalist, author and broadcaster Alok Jha
3 August 2016

Water focus for Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture 2016

The Cawthron Institute Trust Board in association with the Royal Society of New Zealand is proud to announce science journalist, author and broadcaster Alok Jha as its speaker for the 2016 Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture in Nelson on 24 August. (Go to EventBright now to reserve your free ticket)

“The lecture is a free annual community event for the people of Nelson,” Cawthron Institute Trust Board chair, Bob Dickinson says. “This year’s lecture, ‘Water: the extraordinary story of our most ordinary substance’, is timely as New Zealand faces considerable challenges and conflicts around its freshwater.

“Ensuring the health of New Zealand's freshwater ecosystems is one of Cawthron Institute's top priorities. We want future generations to be able to swim in, and fish and drink from our rivers, lakes and streams – just like we’ve been able to. In this year’s lecture, Alok Jha reminds us just how precious water is, and how we all have a stake in protecting it.”

A physics graduate from Imperial College London, Mr Jha is the science correspondent for ITV News in the UK. Before that, he did the same job at the Guardian and has presented many TV and radio programmes for the BBC. Mr Jha’s accolades include a science-writing award from the American Institute of Physics, European Science Writer of the year (2008), and being shortlisted for feature writer of the year at the annual Association of British Science Writers awards.

Listen to Alok Jha’s interview with Kim Hill on RNZ

“Water seems ordinary – it pours from our taps and falls from the sky. But you would be surprised at what a profoundly strange substance it is. It defies the normal rules of chemistry, it has shaped the Earth, its life and our civilisation. Without it, none of us would exist,” Alok Jha says. “The water in our rivers, lakes and oceans all came from outer space. How it arrived here and how those molecules of water were formed is a story scientists have only learned in recent years and which takes us back to the beginning of the universe.”

During the lecture, Alok Jha will take the audience on a scientific voyage that takes us from the origins of water in the Big Bang, through the beginnings of life on earth, the shaping of human civilisations and then back out into space as water becomes the key marker in our search for life in the solar system and beyond.

Event details

What: Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture 2016 – ‘Water: the extraordinary story of our most ordinary substance’ presented by Alok Jha

When: 7.30pm-10pm Wednesday 24 August, 2016

Where: Annesbrook Church, 40 Saxton Rd West, Stoke, Nelson

The lecture is preceded by chamber music items from the Goya Ensemble and concludes with a light supper.

Free entry, but registration is essential. Register now on Eventbrite.

About the Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture

The Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture is a free annual community event held by the Cawthron Institute Trust Board for the people of Nelson since 1917 to commemorate the legacy of Thomas Cawthron and to share science with the public. Many distinguished scientists and scholars have featured as lecturers, sharing their knowledge on a wide range of subjects. Past lecturers include Professor Thomas Easterfield, Sir Ernest Rutherford, Sir Edmund Hillary, Professor Robert Winston and the Rt Hon Helen Clark.