Science stars hidden among us

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Queenstown Research Week is growing rapidly – with 1700 registrations to attend last week’s event. Joshua Walton discusses its enormous growth, celebrated scientists and today’s hot topics with event co-ordinator Professor Peter Shepherd.

Most Queenstowners likely have no idea they might’ve been walking alongside the rock stars of the science world last week.

Queenstown Research Week (QRW), an annual conference founded in 1991, attracts the best and brightest from all over the world to discuss topics ranging from cancer therapy development to genetic engineering and marine biology.

Prof Peter Shepherd, who’s also deputy director of the University of Auckland-based Maurice Wilkins Centre, says the event could continue to grow in the years to come.

“I am pretty sure the people of Queenstown don’t even realise there are so many scientists in their midst.

“Really famous people come – we had Elizabeth Blackburn, who is a Nobel Prize winner, here this week.”

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