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Dr. C. K. TINKLER
The Formation of Ferrous Sulphide in Eggs during Cooking," by C. K. Tinkler and M. C. Soar. (Biochem. J., 1920, 14, 114.) Fumed' Oak and Natural Brown Oak," by C. K. Tinkler. (Biochem. J., 1921, 15, 477.)
S. H. TUCKER-
'The Oxidation of a-Dinaphthaxanthens," by H. K. Sen-Gupta and S. H. Tucker. (Trans. Chem. Soc., 1922, 121, 557.)
"The Diagnosing of Troubles in Electrical Machinery," by Miles Walker. Longmans, Green & Co.
C. F. WARD
The Preparation of Some Allyl Compounds," by S. Coffey and
The Bromination of Acids in the a-Position," by C. F. Ward.
A. F. WATSON
Researches on Vitamin A. VII. Notes on the Factors Influencing the Value of Milk and Butter as Sources of Vitamin A," by J. C. Drummond, K. Coward, and A. F. Watson. (Biochem. J., 1921, 15, 540.)
Miss E. M. WHINCOP
Some Derivatives of Monothioethylene Glycol," by G. M. Bennett and E. M. Whincop. (Trans. Chem. Soc., 1921, 119, 1860.)
DEVELOPMENTS IN THE ORGANISATION OF RESEARCH IN THE OVERSEAS DOMINIONS
The financial position has compelled the Government of India to abandon the idea of proceeding with their scheme for the establishment of an Imperial tanning institute and demonstration boot factory at Calcutta, and the scheme for the establishment of a Central Chemical Research Institute has also been postponed for the same reason. The projected School of Mines and Geology which the Imperial Government had decided to establish at Dhanbad has, happily, been enabled to proceed, and proposals for the buildings, equipment, staff and curriculum of the school have been prepared, whilst provision has been made in the Budget for 1922-23 for the collection of materials on the site of the school.
A scheme for the expansion of the Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, designed to provide facilities not only for an adequate amount of research work, but also for the higher training necessary to qualify Indian students for direct admission to the Indian Agricultural Service, received the sanction of the Secretary of State for India in the course of the year.
Progress is being made in the development of the Forest Research Institute, while locally directed research is beginning to receive more attention. Practically no progress has been made on the construction of the new Institute at Dehra Dun; but the activities of research continue to expand, and, for this purpose, additional officers have been appointed and new plant obtained. Here again, however, lack of money is making itself felt, and, as a consequence, progress on the investigations, which are expected to lead to the fuller and better utilisation of the raw products of Indian forests, is retarded.
During the year the Viceroy of India appointed a special committee of inquiry under the chairmanship of Sir William Pope, K.B.E., F.R.S., Professor of Chemistry at Cambridge University, to examine the working of the Institute of Science at Bangalore with a view to making suggestions as to its future policy. The original object of the Institute was to encourage research in pure chemical and physical science, but it has apparently developed a distinct tendency toward the study of problems likely to lead to results of immediate economic value. The recommendations made by the Committee include proposals for the reconstruction of the Governing Body and the enlargement of the scope of the Institute, and action on the recommendations was initiated before the close of the year.
It has long been recognised that the undeveloped mineral resources of Burma may be immensely rich, and, to facilitate a systematic survey, the Government of India have agreed to the permanent establishment in Burma of a party of the Geological Survey of India.
The suggestion had been made to the Government of India that an association should be created under Government auspices to promote research into the methods of cultivation and manufacture of lac in India in order to safeguard an industry in which India at present possesses a virtual monopoly. The Indian Lac Association for Research was accordingly created and provided with funds to be raised under the Lac Cess Act, 1921, by a cess on exports. The Association consists of members representing European and Indian shippers, manufacturers and brokers, and its object is to finance research work beyond the scope of the Provincial Forest Departments.
The report of the Indian Sugar Committee was published during the year. Owing to financial stringency the Central Government is unable at present to proceed with most of the schemes of Imperial interest recommended by the Committee, such as the establishment of a Sugar Board, a Central Research Institute with its attached provincial cane research stations, a Pioneer Government Factory and a Sugar School. The majority of the recommendations are of provincial concern and have been left to local Governments and Administrations, who have been asked to submit a report as to the action they have already taken or intend taking thereon. Local Governments have also been asked for their views on the Committee's suggestion that research stations in the provinces should come under Imperial control.
The scheme for the establishment of a large and properly staffed Botanical Survey has received the approval of the Government of India, but, owing to the urgent need for economy, it is not possible to give even partial effect to the scheme at present.
A Bill promoted by the Indian Central Cotton Committee provides for a cess of 4 annas (4d.) on every bale used in an Indian mill or exported. The Rs. 8 lakhs (£53,333) which the cess is estimated to yield annually will be devoted to research work and other measures for the general improvement of cotton cultivation throughout India. The Bill embodies the broad general principle of the industry paying for its own research. The first step will be to establish an all-India technological institute in Bombay for the scientific study of special questions for the benefit of producers and manufacturers, such as the intrinsic spinning values of Indian cottons. Another aim is the provision of funds for the maintenance of cotton research specialists in the provincial agricultural departments. It is proposed to institute a special branch of Mendelian research, in order to achieve improvements in Indian cottons, by hybridisation and other botanical measures.
Dr. F. D. Adams, F.R.S., is now the Honorary Chairman of the Canadian Advisory Council, and Colonel F. M. Gaudet has been appointed Technical Executive Officer.
The project for the establishment of a National Research Institute in Canada, which was defeated in the Senate of the Dominion Parliament
last year, is being vigorously pressed; but it is understood that the Dominion Government, in view of the urgent necessity for economy, is not prepared to adopt the scheme during the present session. The Government, however, gave a special grant of $100,000 last session in connexion with the Institute, which enabled a site near Ottawa to be secured and detailed plans of the buildings to be prepared.
The activities of the proposed Institute may be classified briefly as follows:-
1. The standardisation and certification of the scientific and technical apparatus and instruments for the Government service and for use in the industries and laboratories of Canada; the determination of the standards of quality of the materials used in the construction of public works and of the supplies used in the various branches of the public service; the investigation of methods of standardisation and measurement generally; and the physical and mechanical properties of such materials as are used by a large number of industries. The unification of standards will be carried on in association with the Committee on Engineering Standards in Canada. 2. Fundamental research in chemistry, biology, physics and related fields.
3. Investigations in biochemistry and bacteriology, both general and as applied to such industries as the fisheries and packing. industry.
4. Investigations undertaken on the recommendation of the Research Council from time to time to promote the utilisation of the natural resources and valuable waste materials of the country. The report of the Council for the year ended 31st March, 1921, has recently been issued. Out of a parliamentary vote of $120,000, the net expenditure for the year 1920-21 was $109,577, an increase of $9,705 on the previous year. Eight fellowships, 13 studentships and 15 bursaries were awarded, but of the total of 36 grants only 23 appear to have been held for the whole year. Thus the number of students finally holding fellowships, studentships and bursaries did not exceed the number held in the previous year, although it was expected that there would be a considerable increase. The reasons advanced in explanation of this are twofold. On the one hand, in view of the high cost of living in the larger university centres, the amounts of the grants ($500 for a bursary, $750 for a studentship and $1,000 for a fellowship) were generally regarded as inadequate to maintain students while training themselves for research, and therefore did not offer to them a sufficient inducement to follow up their research activities. On the other hand there was a shortage of young graduates of Canadian Universities qualified to receive such assistance. The Council decided to increase the value of the awards for 1921-22 to $750 for a bursary, $1,000 for a studentship and $1,200 for a fellowship. The number of grants awarded for the year 1921-22 was 45, nearly double the number actually held for 1920-21.
The investigation into the preparation of peat for domestic fuel is developing satisfactorily. About 5,000 tons of manufactured peat were produced at the Alfred bog in Ontario during the year and were sold in Ottawa and in some 25 of the smaller towns in the various parts of Central Canada. The peat so prepared met with a ready sale, the market demand being such as to take, if it had been available, ten times the output. The success so far achieved was encouraging, but another year's operations were considered to be necessary in order to demonstrate finally that the production of peat for domestic fuel was commercially practicable.
The problem of the utilisation of low grade iron in the Dominion is being investigated and smelting tests on a large scale have been carried out with certain ores. The results obtained from these tests are not stated, as it is considered advisable to reserve them until the investigation is further advanced and final results are secured. It is estimated that if the investigation proves to be successful a saving of millions of dollars annually to Canada will be effected.
The investigation into the cause of the disintegration of cement structures in soil impregnated with alkaline salts is being conducted under the supervision of the Engineering Institute of Canada. The Canadian Advisory Council made a grant of $5,000 during the year 1920-21 toward the cost of the work, and contributions, amounting to $8,000 in all, were received from the Governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, and the Canada Cement Company.
A commercial plant for briquetting the lignites mined in Saskatchewan and Manitoba has been erected at Bienfait in Saskatchewan by the Lignite Utilisation Board of Canada, from funds subscribed by the Dominion, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The plant is capable of turning out 100 tons of the briquetted product per diem.
Arrangements have been made with the U.S.A. Bureau of Standards, Washington, for flax straw from Western Canada to be tested in the pulp and paper-making plant in the Industrial Institute associated with the Bureau in order to determine the value of the straw as a raw material for the manufacture of paper of all kinds on a commercial scale. If the results of these tests show that the straw can be successfully utilised for this purpose, they may lead to the development of a new industry in the Prairie Provinces, where the amount of straw available in 1921 at railway shipping points was estimated at 250,000 tons.
Grants of varying amounts were made by the Canadian Advisory Council during 1920-21 in aid of the following investigations :
(i) The grading of dairy products (cream and butter).
(ii) The determination of the conditions which affect the growth
of the more valuable forest trees in eastern Canada.
(iii) The nutritional problems affecting the silver fox-breeding industry.
(iv) The isolation of the water soluble B vitamin in a pure form. (v) The reduction of the complex sulphur-lead-zinc sulphide ores of British Columbia.
(vi) The properties of ultra-sonics and their utilisation as a means of detecting submerged objects and of signalling under water. (vii) The liquefaction of helium.
An Australian National Research Council has been constituted, and began its first session in August, 1921. Professor Sir Edgeworth David is its first President.
The Council has appointed a special committee to study the effect on meat of freezing and of maintaining it at a temperature below freezing point and to investigate any improvement that may be possible in the methods at present in use. The Committee includes representatives of the sciences of chemistry, physiology, engineering, physics, etc., and of the frozen meat industry.
The Director of the Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry (Mr. G. H. Knibbs) is considering the subject of initiating research work on a co-operative basis with various institutions. The problems for investigation include questions arising in connexion with the development of industries in the Murrumbidge irrigation areas concerning the treatment of dried fruits, plant breeding, insect and fungus pests, and the utilisation of by-products. Proposals have also been made for co-operation between the Institute and the Stock Diseases Investigation Bureau established by the New South Wales Government.
A recommendation is to be made to the Commonwealth Government urging the formation of an Australian Engineering Standards Association. It is proposed that a representative committee shall be appointed by the Government to control the work of the Association and that this committee shall co-operate closely with the Chambers of Manufacture and other interested organisations. The committee will also work in co-operation with the Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry, especially in regard to research work on problems connected with the physical
properties and chemical composition of the various materials to be standardised.
A Scientific Test House has been established in Sydney, N.S.W. This is the first Government research station to be opened in Australia. The work to be done there includes the investigation of the calorific values of fuels, testing of steam and internal combustion engines, calibration of electrical instruments, and the heat treatment of steel.
The Forest Products Laboratory at Perth appears to be in some danger of extinction owing to inadequate funds. It is understood that though the Laboratory's minimum estimate for carrying on its work during the year ended 30th June last was £10,000, the Federal Government made a grant of only £1,400. Contributions received from certain State Governments and other sources amounted to £2,000, thus bringing the income of the Laboratory up to £3,400, a sum declared to be inadequate for even the partial carrying out of the year's programme. The Government of W. Australia had agreed to provide a site for a permanent building near Perth and to supply £5,000 towards the cost of erection and equipment, while the Federal Government undertook to build, equip and maintain the Laboratory. The State Government has made urgent representations to the Federal authorities to place the Laboratory on a proper footing, and make adequate provision for its maintenance, but with what result is not yet known.
The Laboratory has already carried out a great deal of investigation into the forest products of all the States, particularly W. Australia. It has been established that paper can be made from many of the hardwoods of Australia. A method has been discovered whereby the objectionable colour in the resinous exudation (kino) from the Marri (red gum) can be eliminated without any reduction in its tannin content. Although the kino holds a tannin content not exceeded by any other vegetable product in the forests in the Commonwealth, the reddish hue it has imparted to the tanned product has for long been a bar to its use in the tanning industry. Investigations have been carried on into the dyeing possibilities of many of the forest products.
(d) SOUTH AFRICA
At the request of the Government of the Union of South Africa, experiments have been carried out at H.M. Fuel Research Station on the behaviour of samples of selected South African coals when carbonised at different temperatures. The Report of the Fuel Research Board on the results obtained has been published in the South African Journal of Industries* and in the technical press.
Investigations in methods of seasoning locally-grown timbers are being conducted by the Forest Department of the South African Government in co-operation with the Railway Administration in kilns erected in the Railway Workshops, Pretoria.
The Research Grant Board established by the Union Government has issued its report for the year 1920. 16 grants-in-aid of research, involving a total expenditure of 1,120l., and 10 research scholarships of a total value of 1,140l., were awarded for the following year, 1921. A definite scheme for the investigation of South African materials for refractory goods, including the institution of a ceramics laboratory, has been submitted to the Government.
(e) NEW ZEALAND
The Cawthron Institute of Scientific Research, to which reference was made in a previous report,† has been established at Nelson, with Professor T. H. Easterfeld, formerly Professor of Chemistry in Victoria College, Wellington, as Director. A staff consisting of an agricultural chemist, a chief biologist and entomologist, an assistant entomologist, a mycologist and plant pathologist, a curator and photographer, together with various
* Distillation Experiments with South African Coal. Report of British Fuel Research Board. South African Journal of Industries, 1922, 5, 226. † Fifth Annual Report, p. 105 (Cmd. 905).