Wellington, Nov 19 – Auckland University associate professor of English Brian Boyd has been awarded a state-funded science fellowship to write a book about a world-famous social scientist with New Zealand links.
He plans to write a biography of philosopher Karl Popper, who fled his native Austria in the 1930s to escape Hitler’s domination. Popper lived in New Zealand for nine years from 1937 before settling in Britain in 1946.
He died in 1994 after having a profound influence on contemporary political ideas. His most controversial work, The Poverty of Historicism, rejected historical determinism, and he was a major influence on New Zealand’s social scientists.
One James Cook Fellowship was set aside for social science before the Government last year boosted the number of fellowships available to four.
The fellowship will help Prof Boyd research the book in New Zealand, North America and Europe.
Two other Cook fellowships have been awarded by the Royal society. One, for physical sciences, will go to Jeffery Tallon, of the Institute for Industrial Research, who will research high temperature superconductivity at Cambridge University.
The other, for research of relevance to people in New Zealand or the south-west Pacific, will go to Atholl Anderson, at the Australian National University, to research prehistoric colonisation and environmental change in remote Oceania.
His research will include how and why people first colonised New Zealand and other islands, believed to be between 1000 and 3000 years ago, with associated environmental histories of islands including Fiji, Tuvalu, Niue, and Norfolk.
Royal Society chief executive Ross Moore said in a statement that a biological sciences fellowship was not awarded and would be re-advertised early next year.
NZPA WGT kca iw rap 19/11/96 20-20NZ