First-year Canterbury University student, 17-year-old Hadleigh Frost, was the winner of the first ever Sir Paul Callaghan Premier Award for Young Science Orators this week, presented by Callaghan's widow Miang Lim.
Frost received $5000 for his presentation 'Building the Brain', a 15-minute dissertation about the opportunities in New Zealand to develop artificial intelligence for future economic and social benefit for New Zealand using the talents of home grown scientists, mathematicians and IT specialists.
All up, four secondary school students and eight university undergraduate students competed in the Eureka! Symposium, presenting to an audience of political figures, business people, science entrepreneurs, academics, educators students and the public.
Opening the symposium, prime minister John Key called the late Sir Paul Callaghan one of the heroes of New Zealand science.
Callaghan joined forces with the Rotary Club of Wellington not long before his death to establish the awards in his name.
Awards convenor, Francis Wevers said: “This has been a very successful first outing for these awards which shows that New Zealand has an incredible depth of talent among its young scientists, mathematicians, technologists and engineers."
Entries were judged on their ability to demonstrate polished and persuasive presentation skills, a thorough grasp of the science, and articulation of economic and social benefits within 15 minutes.
Among the judging panel were Massey University chancellor Dr
Russ Ballard, broadcaster Kim Hill, and Catherine Beard of BusinessNZ.