Report of the Academy Council

On 11 August 1997 The Royal Society of New Zealand Act, 1997 came into effect.

The new Act provides a distinct and effective role and responsibility for the Academy. The object of the Academy Council is to contribute to the achievement of the object of the Society, namely, the advancement and promotion of science and technology in New Zealand and, without limiting the generality of this, the Academy Council shall recognise and encourage excellence and outstanding achievements in science and technology and contribute to the intellectual leadership role of the Society.

The Fellowship

At the thirty-fourth Annual General Meeting of the Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand held in Auckland on 24 November 1999, the following were elected to the Fellowship:

  • Richard Jeremy ASTLEY
  • Thomas Heinrich BARNES
  • John Dudley BRADSHAW
  • Ian William Murray BROWN
  • Roy McIver DANIEL
  • Charles Hines DAUGHERTY
  • Garth Joseph Owen FLETCHER
  • Richard Clague GARDNER
  • Peter William HARLAND
  • Ian James HODGKINSON
  • Clive HOWARD-WILLIAMS
  • Geoffrey Jacob IRWIN
  • James Howard JOHNSTON
  • Andrew Craig McEWAN
  • William Hewat McLEOD
  • Murray David MITCHELL
  • Jennifer Ann OGDEN
  • Brian Harford ROBINSON
  • Stephen Donald WEAVER

There were 278 Fellows at 31 December 1999.

Honorary Fellowship

On the recommendation of the Fellowship Selection Committee, the Academy Council appointed the following as Honorary Fellows in 1999:

  • Michael Joseph Kelly FRS, FREng, Professor of Physics and Electronics, University of Surrey, UK
  • Michael John Nigel Priestley, Professor of Structural Engineering, University of California, San Diego, USA
  • Shayle Robert Searle, Emeritus Professor of Statistics, Cornell University, USA

There were 45 Honorary Fellows at 31 December 1999.

Deaths

It is noted with regret that the following Fellows have died in the past year:

  • Arnold R Lillie, Emeritus Professor of Geology in The University of Auckland
  • John T Salmon, Emeritus Professor of Zoology in Victoria University of Wellington
  • F Brian Shorland, Former Director, Fats Research Laboratory, DSIR; Honorary Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Daniel F Walls, Professor of Physics, The University of Auckland
  • Harold W Wellman, Emeritus Professor of Geology in Victoria University of Wellington

Obituaries for these scientists will be published in the Academy Yearbook.

Public honours

Professor Kuan M Goh was honoured with the award of Officer of New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Awards

The 1999 Hector Medal in Mathematical and Information Sciences was awarded to George A F Seber FRSNZ for fundamental contributions to statistical theory, for the development of the statistics profession in New Zealand, and for the advancement of statistics education through his teaching and writing.

The 1999 Hutton Medal in Earth Sciences was awarded to Hugh M Bibby FRSNZ for his contributions to two important developments in earth sciences in New Zealand: earth deformation analysis and geo-electrical prospecting for geothermal resources.

The 1999 Sir Charles Hercus Medal in Biomedical and Health Sciences: clinical sciences and technologies and public health was awarded to David C G Skegg FRSNZ for research in areas as diverse as cancer epidemiology, contraceptive and drug safety, and the genetic and environmental factors of multiple sclerosis.

The 1999 R J Scott Medal in Engineering Sciences and Technologies: technologies associated with biological, food, natural products processing and medical practice was awarded to Lawrence K Creamer FRSNZ for pre-eminence in fundamental, strategic and applied New Zealand dairy science and technology.

Te Rangi Hiroa Medal in Social Sciences: social and economic policy and development was awarded to Jack Vowles FRSNZ, for his major series of studies into the electoral, voting, economic and social attitudes and behaviour of New Zealanders from 1987 to the present.

The 1999 Hamilton Memorial Prize for beginners in scientific and technological research was awarded to two recipients: Dr Claire Vallance, University of Canterbury, for her research in the field of mass spectrometry; and Dr Deborah Young, The University of Auckland, for her work showing that in rats, environmental enrichment results in the birth of new cells in the hippocampus, a brain structure known to be critical to the establishment of learning and memory.

The 1999 Hatherton Award for the best scientific paper by a student registered for a PhD at a New Zealand university, published or accepted for publication either during their studies or within a year of the receipt of the PhD in physical sciences, earth sciences and mathematical and information sciences was awarded to Ross A Edwards, Massey University, for an outstanding paper on the crystal structure of enzymes which help organisms to break down the potentially damaging superoxide ions produced when they process oxygen to support their metabolism.

Academy representation on the Royal Society of New Zealand Council

The three Academy representatives on the Royal Society of New Zealand Council in 1999 are the President, Professor G B Petersen, President-Elect, Professor P T Callaghan and Dr K P McNatty.

Information technology

During the year, the Society commissioned a newly designed website, which was available at http://www.rsnz.govt.nz early in November. The design, layout and accessibility have been improved and it is to be hoped that it is accessed regularly not only by those in the science and technology community, but by others who may not be regular users. The challenge for all websites is that they are updated constantly, and the Academy administrative staff undertake to keep this site current, to indicate all decisions taken by Council, and to reflect Academy activity. We request that all Fellows keep us informed of changes of address, the receipt of honorary and other degrees, retirement and other information, which will ensure that the Academy pages on the Society website reflect its activity and up-to-date information about its Fellows and Honorary Fellows.

The Society has recently published its 100th Science Alert, its weekly electronic newsletter. From issue number 101 it will be called Royal Society Alert, reflecting the need to reinforce the origin of this excellent means of communication. The Academy welcomes receipt of information and news about Fellows for Royal Society Alert which may be sent electronically to either usher.s@rsnz.govt.nz or alert.editor@rsnz.govt.nz.

The Society’s daily electronic news service circulated to those who wish to access it by a password continues to be widely used. The full text of news items is available only to members who are issued with a password.