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How gaming helps New Zealand's "Nanogirl" excel in tech...

How gaming helps New Zealand's "Nanogirl" excel in tech...

Scientist and self-proclaimed "nanogirl" Michelle Dickinson says she is proud to admit she is also a gamer.

Scientist and self-proclaimed "nano girl" Michelle Dickinson says she is proud to admit she is also a gamer.

Dr Dickinson, who will speak at the digital entertainment event at Wellington’s Paramount Theatre on 21 November, says AnimfxNZ 2014 will be the first conference where she'll admit to being a "keen gamer".

"So in effect I’m coming out,” she says.

Dr Dickinson, who has a PhD in biomedical materials engineering and runs New Zealand's only nano mechanical testing research lab, will talk about how she has applied gaming to her scientific communications work.

“Admitting my gaming habit would definitely mean raised eyebrows at the scientific conferences I attend,” Dr Dickinson explains. “But I’m an introvert, so as well as enjoying gaming, I use it to help myself as a presenter.”

After opening Microsoft New Zealand's TechEd 2014 this year, Dr Dickinson has just been named Science Communicator for 2014 by the New Zealand Association of Scientists, one of the year’s top honours, recognising her ability to make science accessible for a wide range of people.

At AnimfxNZ 2014 Dr Dickinson will explain recent advances in nanotechnology which could make animation more realistic, data more manageable and life easier for a range of creatives including animators and gamers.

She will also give Animfxers an introduction to nanotechnology, quantum computing and what light reflection algorithms mean for animators.

Dr Dickinson says her work as a roving science ambassador has her speaking to everyone from “five year olds to grandmothers”, building connections between science and people.

Her work includes giving direct science communications to thought leaders such as Richard Branson, speaking at conferences such as TechEd and TedX, and regular appearances on national television and radio.

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