Class Act 2001: Paul Young

Paul Young says we will be in trouble if we don't address the problems with how we are living.
Paul Young says we will be in trouble if we don't address the problems with how we are living.
Paul Young is convinced that wave energy has potential in places like New Zealand.

Having completed a BSc hons 1 (physics) and recently started his master's, the 23-year-old is among six 2001 Class Act recipients still studying in Dunedin.

The former King's High School pupil is looking at small-scale devices that will sit on the ocean surface and convert their wave induced motion into electrical power.

He wants to find out if linking the devices in a chain would be more efficient than having them moored to the ocean floor independently.

The motion of one device affects all the others, making the problem a complex one best tackled by computer-based simulation.

"Wave energy is in a development stage but is on the verge of commercial employment," he says.

"It could play a useful part in the renewable energy arsenal, especially in places like New Zealand with lots of coastline and strong wave resources."

Although he does not have firm plans after his master's, Young has considered doing voluntary work abroad and would like to help tackle environmental issues.

He is involved in groups such as Solar Action and Sustainable Dunedin City, and says we are consuming the world's resources at an unmanageable rate.

"The technology and measures for us to cut our resource use exist, but we need to act fast to develop and implement these before it becomes difficult to do so . . ."

Young plays the saxophone and has started several bands with friends.

These included RFM (Retrophonic Funk Machine), which released an album called Operating Manual and twice toured the country before disbanding.

He helped found Plagiarhythm and Entropy Trio, and has played in 'Koile, Vibrasics, the Dunedin City Jazz Orchestra and the Calder Prescott Octet.

Entertaining people through music has been a high point of the past few years but what he is most proud of has been learning and becoming a more critical thinker.

That has been achieved not only through his studies, he says, but through life experience and interactions with a wide range of people.

It has been a challenge, though, to juggle the different aspects of his life and try to be successful in all of them.

Like many of his peers, Young was never sure what he would end up doing and he still isn't.

But he says this year's Class Act recipients should not be concerned if they haven't decided on a career yet.

"Don't be anxious if you don't know exactly what you want to do. Just try to experience as much as you can and keep your eyes open."


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