‘Nanogirl’ Michelle Dickinson sweeps science awards

10 November 2015
Dr Michelle Dickinson

A familiar face in the media and passionate advocate for science Dr Michelle Dickinson receives this year’s Callaghan Medal from the Royal Society of New Zealand, completing a clean sweep of national awards for the University of Auckland lecturer and science communicator.

This latest award follows her Queen’s Birthday Honour in June this year when Dr Dickinson was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. In December last year she was awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Prize for Science Communication and a month earlier named Science Communicator of the Year at the annual New Zealand Association of Scientists.

Dr Dickinson is a senior lecturer in Chemical and Materials Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering at the University and features regularly on television, radio and newspapers.

She is also engaged in charitable work including the OMGTech! project which gives young people the chance to interact with leading-edge technologies and ideas. She also ran a “100 Days of Science” event involving dozens of school children participating in science experiments and demonstrations.

“I go out to schools to show schoolkids not only how passionate I am about what I do but why I do it, and hopefully that will go some way towards inspiring them to see that science is all around us, it’s about how our world works and it’s a fantastic career.”

She is a strong advocate for more women to study science and engineering at both secondary and tertiary level.

“Women are still in the minority in science, engineering and technology but it’s a minority that’s getting bigger all the time,” she says.

Dr Dickinson obtained her PhD from Rutgers University (USA) and her MEng from Manchester University (UK). Her research involves measuring the mechanical properties of materials from the nanoscale through to the macro scale and she has a special interest in biological material behaviour.

Her enthusiasm for science goes back to her earliest years when she learned soldering and computer coding by the time she was eight years old. She credits her father with encouraging her natural talents and interest.


For more information contact:

Anne Beston, Media Relations Adviser, Communications, University of Auckland
Email: a.beston@auckland.ac.nz, Tel: +64 9 923 3258, Mobile: + 64 (0) 21 970 089