Books

The Awa Book of New Zealand Science
Edited by Rebecca Priestley
Awa Press, Wellington, 2008

Winner of the Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize 2009

Since Polynesian voyages navigated the Pacific Ocean to find and inhabit a small group of islands at 42 degrees south, scientists of Aotearoa/New Zealand have had an extraordinary record of discovery. This landmark collection of writings ranges from early naturalists’ observation of birds and plants to thrilling eyewitness accounts of experiments that revealed the structure of DNA and the nature of matter. This is science at its most exciting – a book to amaze and delight readers of all ages.

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Mad on Radium: New Zealand in the Atomic Age
By Rebecca Priestley
Auckland University Press, Auckland, 2012

‘New Zealand is known around the world for our nuclear-free stance – banning US ship visits, prohibiting uranium mining, selling ourselves to the world on our clean, green, nuclear-free image. But have we always been nuclear sceptics?’

In this engaging and accessible history, prize-winning author Rebecca Priestley reveals the alternative history of ‘nuclear New Zealand’ – a country where there was much enthusiasm for nuclear science and technology, from the first users of x-rays and radium in medicine; the young New Zealand physicists seconded to work on the Manhattan Project; support for the British bomb tests in the Pacific; plans for a heavy water plant at Wairakei; prospecting for uranium on the West Coast of the South Island; plans for a nuclear power station on the Kaipara Harbour; and thousands of scientists and medical professionals working with nuclear technology.

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Atoms, Dinosaurs & DNA: 68 Great New Zealand Scientists
By Veronika Meduna and Rebecca Priestley
Random House, Auckland, 2008

Winner of the Elsie-Locke Award for Non-Fiction, 2009

From Joseph Banks to Ernest Rutherford and Beatrice Tinsley to Ingrid Visser, Atoms, Dinosaurs & DNA profiles 68 of New Zealand’s most remarkable scientists. Among them are some of the earliest explorers and collectors, the first professional scientists, twentieth century pioneers in emerging scientific disciplines and some of today’s leading scientists who are continuing to make discoveries about our world and working to shape our future.

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The Art of Science
By Rebecca Priestley
Royal Society of New Zealand, Wellington, 2011

In the 1970s Charles Fleming decided that the Royal Society of New Zealand should line its walls with portraits of all of its past presidents. He commissioned some of New Zealand’s top portrait artists – including Bill Sutton, Garth Tapper and Valerie Beere –  to paint portraits of the men who led the Royal Society of New Zealand, among whom were geologists, chemists, botanists and ethnologists. The project continues today and the collection now includes portraits of 47 of New Zealand’s most important, inspiring and accomplished scientists, and showcases the work of some of our best portrait artists. Written in a lively and accessible style by award-winning science writer Rebecca Priestley, this book, published to accompany The Art of Science exhibition of 2011 to 2013, provides a brief overview of New Zealand science and scientists from 1867 to the present day.

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