Richard Branson Hosts New Zealand Scientist on Private Island

A New Zealand scientist has spent a week with Richard Branson on his private Caribbean island playing chess, eating sushi and discussing technology and sustainability.

Auckland University lecturer Dr Michelle Dickinson was one of eight people invited by the British billionaire to Necker Island to discuss science issues, with Dickinson’s focus on New Zealand science.

Dr Dickinson is a senior lecturer in engineering and specialises in nanotechnology – the science of working with atoms and molecules to build extremely small devices.

She is also well known for being a TedxAuckland speaker and her social media profile called Nanogirl, and has been regularly tweeting about her experience throughout the past week.

On Friday she posted about lunch being served on a sushi boat in the pool, before later posting a photo of her challenging Branson to a game of chess.

It was not all poolside sushi and chess, with Dr Dickinson spending a lot of time discussing New Zealand science with Branson and the other guests.

Her trip was partially funded by New Zealand accounting software firm Xero.

Rod Drury, chief executive of Xero, said it was a great opportunity to support her.

“She does so much for science in New Zealand,” he told the NZ Herald. “Michelle has been making science fun and accessible for New Zealanders and [is] such a fantastic role model for females getting into technical subjects.”

Dickinson tweeted that without the support of the company’s chief executive, Rod Drury, the trip would not have been possible.

On her final day on the island, Dickinson posted the image above saying how much of an inspiration Branson had been.

Story originally published on the Sydney Morning Herald

Tags: Auckland  Dr Michelle Dickinson  Nanogirl  nanotechnology  Richard Branson  Rod Drury  Science  Sydney Morning Herald (The)  TEDxAuckland  University of Auckland  Xero  

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