Describing your research – soundbites from Wellington

The Wellington workshops of the Emerging Researchers roadshow featured the highest number of social scientists of all the main centres.  Here’s how they summed up their research in a couple of sentences…

My colleague Dacia Herbulock stepped in to run these sessions while I was down in Dunedin for the science festival.

Here are her top 10 favourites…

Does moving in time with other people, like dancing, bond them together and make them behave more cooperatively? I am testing this with controlled experiments, manipulating synchrony and measuring pro-social behaviour.

I am a translator of geology, I can read the landforms and landscape and tell you the story of past climate.

Trying to find out the cellular targets of a potential drug is like bumping into osmeone in the street and tracking the next thousand people that they meet.

All smokers know how badly they need a cigarette when they can’t have one. I’m trying to figure out how our brain chemistry tricks us into thinking we need this.

Getting your message communicated clearly in the media is like trying to tame a tiger. You can use a whip and a hoop, but as soon as your back’s turned, it will bite your head off.

Can colour make your food crop appear distasteful to insects? Using experiments and evolutionary theory to reduce the ise of insecticides.

I am looking at why there is no “I” in team. I examine the language that rugby players use with one another to create a team identity.

I study invasive yellow crazy ants. If we find out what makes them crazy, we might be able to stop their invasions.

Electrons spinning in harmony help us save space and energy.

Same as Stephen Hawkins’ quote but replace “universe” with “human wellbeing”.

And a cross-section of the rest…

* Talking about sex with your friends and keeping a straight face, can be a harrowing experience. Place this conversation in a typical secondary school classroom and it becomes a social minefield. THis is why I am interested in the use of language in sexual education classrooms.

* Fly fishermen catch rainbow trout as they migrate upstream. I study how trout that migrate up different rivers and streams are related and how we can manage trout to keep them running upstream all season long.

*Planets zoom around the sun without slowing down, but down here on earth, electrons have a much harder time moving through materials. How then do they move with no resistence in these new superconductors and why at such high temperatures?

* Tuatara are one of the most primitive vertebrate forms of life on th eplanet. Yet they have a very complex immune system and are free of a wide range of diseases that affect people and other animals. Why?

* Apparently water flowa through rocks, but how does it really flow? That is what I am trying to measure.

* Like a paint blob spinning on a turntable, my research screams in and out of focus as each new layer gets squirted into the mix. Can I summon the courage to turn off the turntable and see what it really looks like?

* To discover new medical treatments, it makes sense to get help from someone that has been in trhe game for millions of years – nature.

* Moving to a new country can sometimes feel like a move to a different planet. People act differently, speak differently and look differently. I do research that looks at how these newcomers make their strange new worlds feel like home.

* Growing up with more than one culture is confusing. My research asks what does it really mean for a young person to be multicultural in New Zealand and do some young people manage this better than others?

* Churches are organisations which have a large influence on people, so I’m looking at how the architecture of churches influences and organises our behaviour and relationships.

* You can tell who they are by the viruses they carry, developing a method to distinguish salmonella isolates based on pro phaqe content.

* Sexual offending affects a majority of New Zealanders. My research focuses on how to rehabilitate and reintegrate sex offenders so future sexual offences are prevented.

* Are charity appeals insulting to both the viewers and the subjects? I’m studying the reaction of young people in New Zealand to charity appeals. Do they motivate or turn people off aid? Plus, what do the subjects of these appeals think?

* We make artificial sea shells.

* Effective teams need diversity to be effective. This is especially true for the teams that create computer software that we now rely on in our daily lives.

* Gas escapes from us all and we know where it comes from too. The production requires an absence of O2. What about the oxygenated ocean? Where does the methane come from and how is it generated in the presence of O2? This is the oceanic methane paradox.

* What first aid is provided in the New Zealand workplace today and how did we get to this place?

* The aim of my research is to examine socio-culturally diverse workforce perception of workplace diversity practice. Just simply look at people’s perception towards diversity at the workplace in multicultural society.

* A needs analysis of polytechnic business students in writing business correspondence in English.

* To study the expression of human qualities in art and science.

* Former breast cancer patients preconceptions, experiences and evaluations of public and private healthcare systems in New Zealand.

* Information and communication technology is a popular tool of the 21st century. Improving Pasifika tertiary students achievement can be enhanced through upskilling their ICT skills.

* Science investigation becomes a norm in science classrooms at the lower secondary school in Malaysia. However, how effective this approach ti promote student learning is remains unknown.

* I go diving and take photographs to create a flicker book through time of how sponge assemblages change through space and relate the pattern worldwide.

* Drugs of abuse rewire the circuits in your brain. We want to know how so we can flick the switch off to stop the change.

* Just as how we organise a party determines who is going to ocme, how we manage cities determines what kind of space we get.

* Sensible beliefs structure creates practical teaching practices that identifies learners’ diverse needs.

* Young women get a hard time for getting sexy in public. Just because its blah for the audience, doesn’t mean its not good for young women doing it.

* Two people are paddling in opposite directions in a canoe. The canoe doesn’t move as there is no change in direction.

* I work with bacteria that shields itself from the human immune system to cause disease. I am trying t find a way to break that shield.

*What is it about being online that is so compelling for individuals that it drives them to connect with others even when they don’t know who they are?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s