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Auckland After Work Talk on Chemistry: A Volatile History - Discovering the Elements

  • 16 Jul 2024
  • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Fisher House, 117 Kerwyn Ave, Highbrook, Auckland

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Join us for an enlightening presentation by our esteemed historian, Peter Walters, as he delves into the explosive story of chemistry. The journey begins with the discovery of the elements, the fundamental building blocks of our world. From the fiery glow of phosphorous to the pure brilliance of gold and the vibrant violet of potassium, everything around us is composed of these elements.

Presentation Highlights:

  • Video Introduction: A captivating video will set the stage, showcasing the elements that constitute our universe - from the ground beneath our feet to the air we breathe and even ourselves.
  • Historical Insights: Professor Jim Al-Khalili’s three-part series will commence with Episode 1 - the remarkable tale of how these elements were discovered.
  • Alchemical Beginnings: The presentation will explore how the alchemist's quest to turn base metals into gold and discover the elixir of immortality led to the questioning of the ancient belief that the material world consisted of just four elements; earth, air, fire and water.
  • Scientific Progress: Uncover the challenges and rivalries that shaped scientific discovery and how new methods of splitting compounds led to groundbreaking discoveries of then unknown elements and the transformation of the metaphysics of alchemy into the science of chemistry.  

Relevance to the Coatings Industry: Chemistry is fundamental to the formulation of coatings, yet few of us know much about how this recent science came to be. This video series will give our members with a Chemistry education a new appreciation of their chosen profession presented in such a way that our non-chemistry educated members will find fascinating.

We look forward to your attendance and participation in this fascinating exploration of chemistry’s volatile history.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Peter Walters Bio:

Peter has been a member of OCCA/SCANZ since 1976 and involved in the Surface Coatings Industry since 1971. He was appointed to his first technical role in 1974.

Peter has been an active member of OCCA/SCANZ attending most of the SCANZ Conventions held from 1978 and a number of SCAA Conferences, particularly the joint SCAA/SCANZ Conferences.

Peter is a life member of SCANZ and now retired from fulltime employment. He continues to take an active role in our association by serving on our Committee, writing our regular Painted Memories Section of the Brushstrokes magazine and with presentations such as this one.

He also continues to support our Industry by providing consultation services.


Surface Coatings Association New Zealand

The professional body of individuals involved in the surface coatings industry


+64 (9) 910-0142


P O Box 20145
Glen Eden, Auckland 0641
New Zealand

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