Paul Callaghan RIP

March 24th, 2012 at 3:56 pm by David Farrar

Sir succumbed today to his colon cancer.  Probably not a household name, but he was one of the greatest scientists.

He was made a Professor in his 30s and later established the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. Amongst his many prizes were the Ampere Prize and Rutherford Medal. He was the Kiwibank 2011 New Zealander of the Year.

His full list of qualifications and honours were BSc(Hons) DPhil DSc Oxf GNZM FRS FRSNZ FInstP FNZIP.

He wasn’t just a scientist though, but also was an expert in the commercial use of science and technology.

Condolences to his family and friends.

Tags: ,

14 Responses to “Paul Callaghan RIP”

  1. adze (2,093 comments) says:

    This post wiped the smile off my face. :( I’d forgotten that he had cancer. RIP, and may we learn from his example.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    RIP Sir Paul. The wrong sort of people seem to die too early in NZ.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. hj (6,855 comments) says:

    Somebody point out where Sir Paul Callaghan advocated for a larger population:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10559030

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Lindsay Addie (1,404 comments) says:

    I’m saddened to read of Sir Paul’s death.

    Unfortunately in NZ we hear far too much from babbling politicians. We hear far too much about sports “hero’s”, boring celebrities and not enough about Kiwi’s like Sir Paul who are world leaders in their respective fields of intellectual and academic endeavour.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. DJP6-25 (1,362 comments) says:

    Lindsay Addie 4:21 pm. I agree. It’s a sad day for NZ when someone like this dies.

    cheers

    David Prosser

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Pharmachick (233 comments) says:

    Professor Sir Paul Callaghan was an absolute Kauri among pine trees. He will be greatly missed. Condolences to his family.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    HJ at 4.18pm; that is a very good item you link to. Callaghan was SO right about all that – of course NZ needs a bigger population and more industry of the right kind. He also pointed out that most of NZ’s economic success was coming from a sector no-one realises, and it is nothing whatsoever to do with govt policy and “picking winners”. Farming and primary produce, on the other hand, is a guaranteed “keep us a low income economy” sector.

    THIS video should be shown to all 6th formers in NZ:

    http://vimeo.com/24850332

    Callaghan says NZ currently has 40 businesses of a certain type (HIGH value work); that if we had another 80 of them, that alone would catch us up to Australia economically. Apparently NZ’s export earnings have been substantially contributed to by “unsung hero” small but high value manufacturing businesses. He points out that while we all “assume” certain things about the economy and our future, what is happening in real life without us even noticing, is completely different.

    “Samsung Electronics” based in Korea, is way ahead of the NZ average of “value per job”, with a workforce almost as big as the whole of NZ.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    Here is an excerpt from Callaghan’s foreword to “Nuclear New Zealand”, (2004) by Dr Andrew McEwan – another top NZ scientist:

    “…….The 1992 Somers Commission, comprising some of NZ’s most capable minds, was ignored……

    “……The myth of our nuclear-free status might seem harmless enough, but to those who deal in rational scientific debate, the costs of such sophistry appear corrosive. New Zealand lays claim to be a civilised, well-educated nation. We are unwise to deal in falsehood, because in doing so we demean the value of knowledge itself. In a world where knowledge generates wealth, we potentially set ourselves on a pathway to poverty. Further, New Zealand is a small country that trades extensively, a process that depends on internationally agreed scientific criteria. If we are to afford ourselves the luxury of ill-informed superstition, then we can hardly complain when our nearest neighbour refuses to import our apples, claiming disease fears that, we assert, have no scientific foundation. And if we are to solve our rapidly looming energy crisis, we will need to cast our prejudices to the wind. From now on, all our energy choices are hard.

    Whether a fear of witchcraft, a religious zealotry, a denial of fact or a dogmatic rejection of scientific principles, unreason and superstition have their own dangerous dynamic. If we can be nuclear free, we can be GE free. If we can be GE free, we can be totally organic. The list goes on. Instead of being the Switzerland of the South Pacific, producing high-value, knowledge-based exports, we run the risk of drifting into economic decline, sustained only by an arcadian, utopian self-image…..”

    So it is a little bit sickening to hear the eulogies of Callaghan pouring forth from certain hypocritical politicians now. Especially the anti-progress Greens, who Callaghan was critical of, and they knew it.

    But I must say that seeing Callaghan in action on any subject, was an awesome experience. His students clearly loved him. And he could grasp any complex subject outside of his own area of expertise in mere minutes of investigation. His findings on the sources of income growth in NZ should have left our economics experts hanging their heads in shame for not having come up with these findings long since. We owe it to Callaghan to “get it right” now. If only we had LEADERSHIP in NZ; we don’t have anyone LIKE Callaghan in Parliament right now. A fine potential political career has been lost to us too.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Scott Chris (6,036 comments) says:

    Condolences to his family and friends.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    RIP Sir Paul. One of the great minds in this country is no longer with us. An ardent promoter of science in NZ.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Psycho Milt (2,405 comments) says:

    I had dealings with Paul Callaghan a few times when we were at the same university in the early 2000s. The fact that he was one of the most important academics in the place and I was some lowly schmuck wasn’t ever apparent in my conversations with him, he was always full on for getting useful things done and not interested in any bullshit about his position in the hierarchy unless it could be exploited for getting those useful things done. His death is a big loss to NZ.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Ross12 (1,388 comments) says:

    I totally agree with what others have said above. But the one thing Sir Paul had that other great scientists often do not have is that he was a fantastic communicator probably partly because he was so passionate about his subject. I was fortunate to be taught 7th form ( yr 13 ) physics by him –even then he was the same passionate teacher. Although he had to teach us a whole years course in two terms he still managed to get two of my class mates into the top 20 in NZ in scholarship.
    Philbest –I totally agree with your comment about the need for his form of leadership but it would be wasted in Parliament ( it would be drownout by all the idiots). His form of leadership is needed in Gluckman’s role –unfortunately I don’t think Gluckman has it.
    Condolenses to his family –I bet he was a great father and husband.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. freedom101 (492 comments) says:

    The last year has been one of great losses … Dennis Dutton, Roger Kerr, Lloyd Morrison, and now Paul Callaghan. Plus Jock Hobbs and Owen McShane. All died young, 5 out of 6 from cancer. I wonder if there isn’t something about high achievement and the stresses that go with that?

    I agree with Phil Best that this video http://vimeo.com/24850332 is one that every New Zealander should watch.

    Paul Callaghan was a wonderful man and an inspiration to many. Condolences to his family. Very tough.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. MainlyMe (1 comment) says:

    The video referenced can be seen as a better video (Strategy NZ presentation) with similar content on YouTube here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhCAyIllnXY
    Agree, EVERY Kiwi MUST see this!!!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.