Archaeology, astronomy and botany feature in latest issue of journal

August 31, 2020
 

The latest issue of the Academy’s journal, Historical Records of Australian Science, is now available. The journal covers a wide range of exploration, discovery, invention and progress relating to the history of pure and applied science in Australia, New Zealand and the southwest Pacific. It is the only journal of its kind for this region, and also publishes essays, biographical memoirs of deceased Academy Fellows, book reviews and bibliographies.

The journal’s editors are Dr Sara Maroske from the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Professor Ian D. Rae from the University of Melbourne. Here is their introduction to the latest issue of the journal.

From the editors

We had planned to dedicate this issue of the journal to histories of archaeology in Australia and the Pacific, an initiative of the ARC Laureate project ‘The collective biography of archaeology in the Pacific: a hidden history’ but the Covid-19 virus disrupted our planning. Archaeology has its roots in the social sciences and humanities, but its emergence as a modern university discipline has been closely associated with its embrace of new technologies and scientific approaches.

In the interests of making the work available, the first two articles on the history of archaeology in Australia and New Zealand appear here, but others will be published as they are processed. They will appear online early, of course, and we will gather them into a virtual issue when the set is complete. Guest editors Hilary Howes and Matthew Spriggs have overseen the review process of these articles.

Archaeology has its roots in the social sciences and humanities, but its emergence as a modern university discipline has been closely associated with its embrace of new technologies and scientific approaches.

The interest shown by our contributors in the nineteenth-century work of botanists and collectors, many of them with connections to Ferdinand von Mueller, is continued with two articles about the work of John Dallachy (1804–71). Dallachy, a ‘super collector’, settled in the highly species diverse Wet Tropics Bioregion of north-east Queensland, during a period now known in Australian history as ‘the frontier wars’ when settlers clashed with Aboriginal people.

Australia’s participation in scientific organisations at international level forms the background to Nick Lomb’s account of how the 1973 general assembly of the International Astronomical Union came to be held in Sydney. In these times of financial stress, it is interesting to read that although Australia became an adhering country to the union in 1922, it had to withdraw during the years of the great depression due to financial exigency but was able to rejoin in 1939.

The lives and scientific careers of two Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science, David Curtis and Bruce Fraser, are described in biographical memoirs prepared by former colleagues and experts in their respective fields. Curtis was a neurophysiologist who studied the transmission of signals in the central nervous system and held senior appointments in the John Curtin School of Medical Research at ANU. Fraser was a biophysicist who worked with fibrous proteins, for most of his career in the Wool Textile Research Laboratories of CSIRO. Curtis was also a Fellow of the Royal Society, that will also publish his biographical memoir under a long-standing agreement between the two learned academies.

The lives and scientific careers of … David Curtis and Bruce Fraser are described in biographical memoirs.

The eight book reviews compiled under Peter Hobbins’ guidance show, as usual, the breadth of interest in Australian science, and we are pleased to note that two of the authors whose books are reviewed, John Dowe and Pete Minard, have published with us in Historical Records of Australian Science.


Access to the journal for Academy Fellows

Fellows have free online access to all the articles in Historical Records of Australian Science. Go to the ‘Fellows Only’ page on the Academy website (you need to be logged in), and under the heading ‘Resources and other information’ click on the link to Historical Records.

© 2022 Australian Academy of Science

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