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Volume 85, 1957-58
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Reports of Member Bodies Otago Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Annual Report for Session 1956 (87th Session)

Officers of the Branch. President: Dr. F. G. Soper. Vice-Presidents: Miss B. Brewin and Mr. O. H. Keys. Hon. Secretary: Mr. J. B. Mackie. Hon. Treasurer: Mr. B. W. Campbell. Hon. Solicitor: Mr. J. M. Paterson. Hon. Auditor: Mr. J. G. Butler.

Council. Professors A. K. McIntyre, G. T. S. Baylis, D. S. Coombs, G. J. Williams, Mr. F. H. Rogers (resigned from Council and Branch, and now at Armidale, N.S.W.), Dr. B. H. Howard (Historical Section), Mr. J. Stuart, jun. (Astronomical Section) and Mr. H. S. Tily (Microscopical Section).

Membership. New members elected: Mr. G. C. Cossens, Mr. K. W. W. Double, Mr. M. Foord, Mrs. Hamel, Mrs. A. W. McDonald, Mr. J. H. Stubbs, Mr. M. M. Trotter and Dr. A. M. Veale. Resignations: Mr. Arthur Barnett, Dr. Alan Bell, Professor G. C. Billing, Mr. G. G. Couling, Dalgety & Co. Ltd., Mrs. J. L. Hobbs, Mr. F. H. Rogers and Mr. J. G. Smith. Transfers to Branch: Mr. S. S. P. Hamilton, from Auckland. Transfers from the Branch: Professor A. G. McLellan, to Canterbury; Dr. W. A. Watters, to Wellington. Transfer to Life Membership: Professor G. T. S. Baylis. Removed from the Roll: One person. Deceased: Messrs. H. Brash and T. Somerville. The roll now stands at 157, as against 161 for last session.

Distinctions Gained by Members. Professor W. E. Adams has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Zoology of India. Dr. Elizabeth Batham, Dr. H. D. Skinner and Professor B. J. Marples were awarded the Galathea Medal for services rendered to the Galathea Expedition. Sir Charles Hercus has been elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London Professor B. J. Marples was awarded the Bryce Prize of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand, 1955, for work in connection with the observation of sun spots. Mr. L. H. Martin has been selected as a member of the New Zealand Antarctic team for International Geophysical Year operations. Professor A. K. McIntyre has been asked by the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science to deliver the David Memorial Lecture at the 32nd Meeting in Dunedin next January. D. H. D. Skinner was awarded the C. B.E. by Her Majesty the Queen in the last New Year Honours list.

Representative on the Museum Trust Board. The Branch is entitled to one representative on the newly-formed Museum Trust Board which has replaced the Museum Management Committee. Professor Baylis was elected to this office early in the year.

Representatives on the Council of the Royal Society of N.Z—The two Vice-Presidents of the Branch, Miss B. I. Brewin and Mr. O. H. Keys, who were our representatives last year at the two Royal Society Council meetings have continued to hold office this year.

Conversazione. The Branch again joined with the Association of Friends of the Museum in the Annual Conversazione which was held in the Museum on September 26. There was a large attendance at this popular function which gives the members of both organizations the opportunity of meeting together socially to view recent acquisitions and special displays in the Museum. On this occasion there was on view a magnificent collection of English gilt silverware, together with some period furniture. An attractive supper served in the Maori House brought the evening to a close.

Main Branch Meetings. This year the Branch was very fortunate in obtaining as lecturers a number of eminent overseas visitors who delighted members with the quality and material of their addresses. Our local lecturers also provided talks of a very high standard.

The visitors were. Sir Charles Darwin, F.R.S., the Rutherford Memorial Lecturer, from England, Professor K. E. Caster, from U.S.A., Professor P. B. Medawar, F.R.S., from England, and Professor A. Beacham, from Wales. Unfortunately, Professor Beacham was indisposed on the date set down for his talk, but his paper was read by Mr. Blakey, of the Economics Department of the University.

Lectures given during the year were as follows. Tuesday, April 17, Sir Charles Darwin, F.R.S., Rutherford Memorial Lecturer, “Forecasting the Future”. Tuesday, May 1, Professor Gordon J. Williams, Dean of the Faculty of Mines and Metallurgy, University of Otago, “The Scramble for Uranium”. Tuesday, June 12, Dr. F. G. Sloper, C.B.E., Vice-Chancellor, University of Otago, Presidential Address, “Sources of Power and Energy”. Tuesday, July 10, Professor A. Beacham, Professor of Economics and Political Science at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, William Evans Visiting Professor in Economics, University of Otago, “The Standard of Living in New Zealand”. Tuesday, August 14, Professor P. B. Medawar, F.R.S., Department of Zoology, University College, London, Chaffer Visiting Lecturer, University of Otago, “Graft Hybrids and Animal Chimeras”. Tuesday, September 11, Mr. John Carter, Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy, University of Otago, “Early Metal Culture”. Tuesday, October 9, Mr. W. S. Fyfe, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, University of Otago, “Experiment and the Interior of the Earth”. In addition, a special meeting was held on August 7 to hear Professor K. E. Caster talk on “Glimpses of Peru and the Incas”.

Historical Section Meetings. Tuesday, June 12, Professor H. H. Rex, “The Concept of History in Continental Theology”. Tuesday, July 17, Mr. F. G. Hall-Jones, “Southland.

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Centennial”. Tuesday, September 18, “The Teaching of History in Secondary Schools”. A symposium. Tuesday, October 30, Mr. W. G. McClymont, “Kalamata: an Episode in the Greek Campaign.”

Original Papers. “Ecology of Southern New Zealand Sheltered Rocky Shore by Portobello Marine Biological Station, Otago Harbour”, by Dr. Elizabeth Batham. “A Review of the Copepod Genus Boeckella in New Zealand,” by Miss V. H. Jolly. “Ascidians in New Zealand, Part 10: Ascidians of North Auckland”, by Miss B. I. Brewin. “Care of Eggs by Octopus maorum, with Notes on Eggs, Larvae, Adult and Paroctopus zealandicus,” by Dr. Elizabeth Batham. “Comparative Morphology of the New Zealand Species of Pseudopanax and Nothopanax”, by Miss Kathleen Soper. “Ecology of Southern New Zealand Exposed Rocky Shore at Little Papanui, Otago Peninsula”, by Dr. Elizabeth Batham. “Contributions to the Mineralogy of New Zealand, Part IV”, by Professor C. O. Hutton (U S.A.).

Royal Society of New Zealand and the Otago Branch. During the year Professor L. H. Briggs was elected President of the Society, and Professors R. S. Allan and L. R. Richardson were elected Vice-Presidents.

As was mentioned in the Otago Branch Annual Report for 1955, the question of the Society's finances has been giving the Council much concern. The matter of contributions from Branches towards the administration expenses of the Society has, of course, come under consideration and, as a result, a questionnaire was recently prepared and sent to Branch Councils for answer.

Under Rule A 3 of the Rules of the Royal-Society of New Zealand, “every member body shall provide for the expenditure of not less than one-third of its annual revenue on or towards the formation or support of some local public museum or library or other institution approved by the Council, or otherwise shall provide for the payment of not less than one-sixth of its annual revenue towards the extension and maintenance of the Royal Society of New Zealand” Further, under Rule H (e), “a proportional contribution may be required from each member body towards the cost of publishing Proceedings and Transactions of the Society.”

These two rules which affect the finances of the Society and of Branches are now under review. Your Branch Council feels that contributions to library, museum, etc., were in order in the earlier years of this century, when the institutions supported, though usually small served a useful purpose in the community. Nowadays, however, with the very great quantity of library and museum material available, it is felt that the Branches which are almost all situated in cities, cannot offer anything like adequate support for large museums or libraries necessary to house desirable material. Therefore your Council is not in favour of contributing one-third of Branch income to such institutions but is of the opinion that this proportion of subscription income should be paid to the Royal Society of N. Z. to help with administration costs provided that no further contribution is required by the main body towards the cost of producing the Transactions and Proceedings.

At the present time the Branch is levied 7s 6d per member by way of assistance towards printing the Transactions.

Many members of the Branch will recall that we have an Auditorium Fund which will before long, be used to help with the provision and furnishing of an auditorium in the proposed new extension of the Otago Museum. This fund now contains about £2,400, and it is being augmented annually by about £60 of interest. Thus, by the time the money is paid over for the auditorium, the Branch will have made a very substantial contribution—representing approximately one-third of its total income for many years—towards the local museum.

Your Council does feel that Branches should make some contribution towards the expenses of the Royal Society of New Zealand, but at the same time it is concerned that there should be no increase in subscription arising out of such a contribution. At present Branch income is balancing expenditure, but if prices continue to rise Branch finances will have to be reviewed; this reviewing may be hastened by any recommendations made by the Royal Society in connection with Branch contributions.

F. G. Soper

, President.

J. B. Mackie

, Hon Secretary
November 7, 1956

Historical Section

During the year the society held only four meetings.

Unfortunately two speakers who had been included in the original programme were unable to give papers.

The subjects of the four meetings were diverse and the meetings were well attended by members.

Membership has remained the same as last year and again this year there have been no student members.

W. P. Morrell

, President.

D. G Esplin

, Hon. Secretary-Treasurer.

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Astronomical Section

During the year one general and two Committee meetings were held.

Office-bearers. The following were elected at the last Annual Meeting: Chairman, Mr. G. G. Couling; Vice-Chairmen, Messrs. W. D. Anderson and J. C. Begg. Hon. Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. K. M. McIntyre; Hon. Observatory Director, Mr. A. J. Doig; representative on Royal Society Council, Mr. J. Stuart; Committee—Messrs. W. A. H. Drew, J. Riach, G. W. Broad. A. J. Symonds, R. N. Campbell and E. W. Chrisp.

Shortly after the last Annual Meeting, the elected Chairman, Mr. G. G. Couling, was transferred to Bluff and so had to resign the chairmanship. At this stage we would like to put on record the Section's thanks and great appreciation for all the work he did for the furthering of astronomy in Dunedin. During his years of association with the Observatory he occupied all the various offices and also did a great deal of work in the field of recording auroral phenomena and the timing of occultations. Mr. Couling is a man the Section will miss in the coming years, and while we are glad for his promotion we regret that he had to leave Dunedin.

Beverley-Begg Observatory. The winter observing season comprised 28 Saturday nights, from April 14 to October 20. The season was extended slightly because of the close opposition of the planet. Mars Of these nights approximately half were suitable for observation.

The sessions were as usual conducted by Committee members on a rota system. It is a matter for some concern that we have only three members on the committee who can guarantee being able to serve on this rota. The burden of work is devolving on too few. However, there seems to be no other way of conducting our public sessions, so we must hope that in ensuing years more will come forward to offer their services.

As well as the Saturday night sessions there have been many private parties entertained at the Observatory on other nights of the week—more so than was the case last year.

That this is becoming quite a feature of our work is amply demonstrated by the observatory collections. Last year we took £11 11s 9d, this year £17 8s 6d—a record for the Section. In all about 475 to 550 people visited the Observatory.

Occultations. The Observatory Director. Mr. Doig, has taken over from Mr. Couling the task of timing occultations and sending the figures forward to the compilers of the Nautical Almanac.

Equipment. All items of equipment have been carefully maintained and are in good condition.

The aluminium surfaces on the 12in and diagonal mirrors of the large reflector continue to stand up well to the atmospheric conditions. Mention was made last year of the problem of dust collecting on the mirror surfaces, which it does fairly readily.

Recently Mr. Doig washed the 12in mirror in a weak detergent solution and this operation has resulted in the removal of the dust and consequent better observations being made of the celestial phenomena.

During the past year our Orrery Planetarium was loaned to the Christchurch Branch for exhibition at the Christchurch Industries Fair. This we feel was a very worthwhile venture, as it was of great assistance to their exhibit and also, when demonstrated, aroused a great deal of interest.

Annexe. Since our last report work has proceeded apace with the construction of the Annexe. We have now reached the stage of laying the concrete blocks, and we are beginning to see something for our labours. However, laying bricks is a slow process when there are only a few people to do the work. It would certainly be appreciated by those who regularly work on the Annexe if more of our able-bodied members came along on fine Saturday mornings to lend a hand.

Publicity This year we have had a fair share of publicity. There have been articles in the local papers about the Observatory and about astronomy with particular reference to Mars. Much of the material for these articles was given by our Vice-Chairman, Mr. W. D. Anderson. The Secretary-Treasurer gave a further series of talks on astronomy in the Children's Session from 4YA, Dunedin.

Such publicity as this accounts in part for the large numbers of people who have visited the Observatory in the past year.

Vandalism. Once again we are suffering from the attacks of vandals. Over the past three or four months we have had a series of minor attacks by vandals who interfered with the building materials for the Annexe, and on one occasion with the lock of the Observatory door. These attacks were more of a nuisance rather than a cause of real damage. A complaint was made to the police some time ago, however, when it was discovered that they had broken some of the concrete blocks by dropping them on top of each other into the excavations.

It is hoped that this complaint will have the desired effect on those who are perpetrating the attacks We suspect that the vandals are school children on the way home between the hours of 3.30. p. m. and 5.0 p. m. during the week.

Membership. The roll stands at 14 full members and 34 Associate members.

K. M. McIntyre

, Secretary.