Science Archive

How fear of regret runs our lives – and how to break free

From the 'sunk cost bias' to decision paralysis, being overly fearful of regret can lock us into bad relationships, jobs and habits. But it doesn't have to be this way.

Single use plastic is piling up. Is pyrolysis the answer?

With global angst mounting about the buildup of plastic ending up in landfills and the environment, chemists and materials scientists are considering pyrolysis as an option.

Te Papa must decide if it still wants to be a natural history museum

The revelation that our national museum is on the brink of turfing out two world-class scientists casts grave doubt over its commitment to being a natural history museum

How the fertiliser of the future could help save New Zealand’s environment

Harvard professor Dan Nocera's research in the creation of a new type of fertiliser, shared at the MacDiarmid Institute’s AMN9 conference, could have dramatic implications for New Zealand.

Mothers, daughters and overcoming bias in the science world

Does the way science gets passed down through generations make it harder for girls to get into? And what can help change that? Alex Braae reports from the first day of the 9th International Conference on Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology.

Slip slop scrap: On the Cancer Society vs Consumer NZ sunscreen fight

As two trusted groups go into battle on SPF ratings, microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles explains what the numbers mean, and how they’re measured

Why women don’t need to ‘take a break’ from the pill

Misconceptions about the way the pill works fuel the erroneous idea that it’s good to take a break from the pill every couple of years. 

How DNA became a key to unlocking decades-old NZ crimes

Increasingly sophisticated analysis of samples means perpetrators from historic cases can be identified – and the technology is just as important in proving accused people's innocence

Strange fish, dead grapes and ice loss: what happens in a NZ heatwave

As the Australian heatwave spills across the Tasman pushing up temperatures in New Zealand, we take a look at the conditions that caused a similar event last year and the impacts it had.

West Coast council shows that on climate change, facts often aren’t enough

Even when the science is settled, climate change has a serious communication problem.

Could New Zealand’s drinking water be causing cancer?

A study showing a link between nitrate levels in drinking water and rates of bowel cancer should concern people living in areas where nitrates are high, write Mike Joy and Michael Baker.

Enjoy those warm NZ seas, but start worrying about what they portend

Signs of another marine heat wave should direct attention to the serious impact of warming oceans

What are the health risks in taking ecstasy?

MDMA pills can kill. But most fatalities are a result of a combination of factors, not just the drug itself.

350 years after its discovery, this vital element is running out

Scientists predict in almost thirty to forty year that there will be a shortage of one vital element: Phosphorous. Petr Kilian, a senior lecturer in chemistry, explains why.

The SPCA’s anti-1080 policy isn’t just naive, it’s dangerous

Banning 1080 would lead to the annihilation of nearly all New Zealand's native land animals and birds, writes Forest & Bird's Kevin Hague. Is this really what our leading animal welfare organisation wants?

Forget sharks: this is the real injury risk at New Zealand’s beaches

While your chances of being attacked by a shark are tiny, the risks of an injury from beach litter and marine debris are surprisingly high – and growing every year.

Women have been written out of science history. It’s time to put them back

Women have been doing groundbreaking science for centuries. So why don't students learn more about them?

1080 does not kill kiwis – on the contrary, it helps them live

Misleading remarks in the media erode public confidence in a pest-control tool we urgently need to save species.

Summer reissue: ‘I covered my wall in Post-it notes’: meet NZ’s new chief scientist

Professor Juliet Gerrard on diversity in science, the political hot potatoes, and what constitutes science.

From climate delusion to Taylor Swift to Rocket Lab: NZ scientists’ 2018 revelations

We asked a bunch of smart people in NZ science and technology to tell us their revelation of 2018, whether in the field of science or otherwise

2018 was the year I realised that scientists are optimists

But what I’m grappling with, writes Nicola Gaston, is how optimistic we can afford to be about human behaviour

2018: A year of bad news for the planet (and us)

If you’ve felt like this year has been one bad news story after another then you’re not alone. Let’s face it, things have not been great for the environment and the many species that live on this planet for a while now.

How new ways of thinking about mental disorders can help treat them

Mental disorders don’t happen randomly, nor are they determined purely by your genes.

A very serious listicle: The top 10 NZ science stories of 2018

Want to feel smart but also read something snackable? Check out the Science Media Centre's top 10 NZ science stories for the year.