Professorial Lecture Series – 10 May

Celebrating Fresh Thinking: Professorial Lecture Series

Join me in celebrating the very substantive contribution to academia made by Professor Richard Hartshorn and Professor Peter Gostomski as part of the Professorial Lecture Series in 2018.

Date and time: Thursday, 10 May 2018, from 4.30 – 6.00 p.m.Location: F3 Forestry Lecture Theatre

“What’s in a Name? – Possibly Death and Taxes!”  Presented by Professor Richard Hartshorn, School of Physical and Chemical Sciences (see more detail below)

“Adventures in academia – research, teaching and the other things.”  Presented by Professor Peter Gostomski, Department of Chemical & Process Engineering (see more detail below)

I encourage all staff and postgraduate students to attend this lecture, to actively support our new Professors, and take the opportunity to appreciate the fantastic research being undertaken in parts of the university we may be less familiar with.

Professor Ian Wright
Deputy Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Tuarua

MORE PRESENTATION  DETAILS:

“What’s in a Name? – Possibly Death and Taxes!”  Presented by Professor Richard Hartshorn, School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Modern coordination chemistry produces wonderfully complicated molecules, some are potentially useful and some are simply pretty. This talk will showcase some of our chemistry – building molecules that demonstrate a new approach to targeting anti-cancer drugs – and also some of the work that I do in developing nomenclature with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

There will be some history, some explanations, some crystal ball-gazing, and a few long names (merely because I have to play up to expectations – at least a little bit).

IUPAC (www.iupac.org ) is probably best known for the fact that it provides recommendations on nomenclature – that and the periodic table (next year will be the International Year of the Periodic Table). But this means more than just making rules that lead to long names. It is also about recognising the needs of the community and developing standards that can help us communicate our science, keep us safe (death!), and facilitate commerce (taxes).

I am currently the IUPAC Secretary General and I have led the IUPAC Division of Chemical Nomenclature and Structure Representation – this means I am in a better position that most to talk about nomenclature developments and the challenges of the future.

“Adventures in academia – research, teaching and the other things.”  Presented by Professor Peter Gostomski, Department of Chemical & Process Engineering

Advancement to the Professorial rank has many paths.  A person can be a highly focused researcher and/or teacher.  Or, as in my case, they can be an all-rounder, demonstrating sufficient competence in research, teaching and service to achieve this rank.  As a self-ordained all-rounder, I will describe my contributions across these three areas.

As a bioprocess engineer, my research has mainly focused on convincing microorganisms to do something interesting: sometimes making things (bioproducts) or eating things (pollution control).  Underpinning this work is an interest in manipulating the biofilms that often control these processes.  My group has developed a number of novel reactors to explore the influence of environmental parameters on biofilms.  Recently, my group has started a project investigating the microorganisms that may solve the nitrate problem in Canterbury’s groundwater.  We will do this by applying the work of Watson and Crick, a bit of Rutherford & Chadwick and Leo Szilard (one of the fathers of the nuclear bomb) using a technique with the atrocious acronym of RNA-SIP with NGS.

I will also share some anecdotes from my teaching and as Head of Department.  My teaching has ranged from a Fourth-year highly technical paper (~25 students) to a large First-year paper (1000+ students) focussing on professional skills for engineers.  I have also made important contributions to the University as the HoD for CAPE; leading the department from almost being dissolved due to low numbers, to having student numbers triple; through a period of diaspora for CAPE researchers post-earthquake; to the trials and tribulations of designing and occupying a new building.  There were also a few interesting conversations along the way with the police and other interesting people.