Rebecca Priestley

Senior Lecturer Science in Society, Science Faculty Office


Teaching in 2017

Research interests

History of science, science communication, nuclear science, 20th century physics, Antarctic science history, creative science writing.

Dr Rebecca Priestley profile picture


PhD, History and Philosophy of Science, University of Canterbury (2010); BSc (Hons), First Class, Physical Geography, VUW (1992); BSc, Geology, VUW (1990)


Selected Publications from 2006 - Now

Research interests

There are three interconnected strands to my research portfolio: history of New Zealand and Antarctic science; science communication and public engagement with science in New Zealand; and creative science writing practice. I have published in all of these areas (see publications list) and am currently working on or exploring projects on:

  • the history of science communication in New Zealand
  • climate change communication in New Zealand
  • scientists’ voices in Antarctic literature.

I am also embarking on a collection of essays strongly influenced by my journeys to Antarctica and the Kermadec Islands and my experience working with climate scientists, volcanologists, marine biologists, conservation biologists, organic chemists and other scientists. I regularly write about science for the New Zealand Listener and have communicated a range of other science stories through print, blogs and radio broadcasts. I have a strong interest in the links between the arts and sciences and I am an associate investigator with Te Pūnaha Matatini.

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in hearing from students seeking postgraduate supervision in any of my areas of research interest.

PhD: Co-supervisor for Helen Heath, International Institute of Modern Letters, Poems of science: hybrids of knowledge and subjectivity.

Co-supervisor for Janine Cook, History, Feathered friends and human-animals: General biology and comparative description within the New Zealand Poultry Industry Press (awarded 2015).