Prof. Emeritus Arthur Williamson
Long time SIFT Trustee, Professor Emeritus Arthur Williamson is our Green Collar Job Q&A for this week. Arthur Williamson is the founder of Thermocell, one of New Zealand’s leading solar water heating manufacturer and also former head of Chemical and Process Engineering and Dean of Engineering at the University of Canterbury. He has conducted extensive research on thermodynamics, industrial energy management and solar energy (and taught others on the subjects) for over 30 year. He is a wonderful source of information, expertise and insight to the science, technology and business management of SIFT projects. You can read more about Arthur here.
1. What do you do to live more sustainably (with a low impact) in your life?
I try to reduce my domestic energy consumption by using efficient methods of doing things around the house like heating, lighting and refrigeration. I have solar water heating installed in my home. I also avoid fashion and trends so I wear my clothes until they are worn out – some of my items of clothing have patches especially on the elbows.
2. How do you live more sustainably at work?
I try to minimise my use of paper but not very successfully and am conscious of the waste produced and turn my computer off when I am not in the office.
3. What do you think is the biggest environmental issue we need to deal with in Christchurch/New Zealand?
What relates to Christchurch are things that are of global significance such as vehicle fuel use – our use of fossil fuels for transport. And our expansion of the major ruminants in the interests of economic development which leads to excess water use, waterway pollution and the evolution of large amounts of extremely bad greenhouse gas called methane.
4. What makes you smile?
Jokes based on incongruity, which most are.
5. What is your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve would be our obsession with monetary evaluation of all decision making processes.
6. What is your favourite colour and why?
Red because that’s what colours Ferraris are.
7. Do you have a favourite place in the world? Describe why?
My two favourite places are our holiday home in Bealey Spur and our house in Christchurch.
8. What’s your connection to SIFT?
I am a long time SIFT Trustee.
9. Do you remember your favourite teacher and why they were your favourite?
My fourth form science class teacher at High School (Hutt Valley High) because she encouraged me to become a scientist.
10. What do you want to leave behind?
Your real immortality is your children and your grandchildren.
Whatever else you do is going ephemeral and will fade – almost all of the science I have done has been surpassed and is now out of date. I would like to think I have left behind some things that will influence the country for a better future, what those are I don’t know.
11. What do you think the future will bring?
I think the future will bring a recognition that we do need to reduce the population of the planet, it’s a major part of sustainability. Whether we can achieve that without killing each other off in resource wars will be a matter for the politicians.
12. Who is someone you really admire and why?
Bob Scott, one of my former bosses, is probably one of the most honest, clear thinking people I know.
13. What is happening outside your window right now?
The sun is shining.
14. What is your favourite breakfast?
Cup of tea, toast and marmalade.
15. What is the best piece of advice you can give us?
Just keep trying.