Paul Callaghan, a top New Zealand scientist who gained international recognition for his work in molecular physics, has died after a long battle with bowel cancer. He was 64.

In a time of increasing desire for nationalized funding of science, Callaghan, best known for his work with magnetic resonance, argued in favor of commercializing science. He was able to make science accessible to regular New Zealanders by explaining it in a straightforward and entertaining way, and that he was able to use radio, books and public lectures to promote his view that the country could use science to become a wealthier and better place.

"New Zealand has suffered a tremendous loss," Sir Peter Gluckman, Prime Minister John Key's chief science adviser, said in a statement Saturday. "Paul has been our most distinguished public scientist and in the world of molecular physics has been a giant."