Author(s): Shaun Henry
The nuclear meltdown at Fukushima ...the Fonterra botulism scare ...the Christchurch earthquakes - in all these recent crises the role played by scientists has been under the spotlight.What is the first duty of scientists in a crisis - to the government, to their employer, or to the wider public desperate for information? And what if these different objectives clash?In this penetrating BWB Text, leading scientist Shaun Hendy finds that in New Zealand, the public obligation of the scientist is often far from clear and that there have been many disturbing instances of scientists being silenced. Experts who have information the public seeks, he finds, have been prevented from speaking out. His own experiences have led him to conclude that New Zealanders have few scientific institutions that feel secure enough to criticise the government of the day.
Professor Shaun Hendy FRSNZ is Director of Te Punaha Matatini, a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland. Te Punaha Matatini is a national research network that uses methods from complex systems to solve problems for business and to develop better economic and environmental policies.Shaun teaches in both the Department of Physics and the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland. In 2012, Shaun was awarded the Callaghan Medal by the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister's Science Media Communication Prize for his work as a science communicator. In 2013 he was awarded the E. O. Tuck medal for his research in applied mathematics, and co-authored Get Off the Grass with the late Sir Paul Callaghan.