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WHAT'S IN A NAME?

, (To the Editor.) Sir,—ln drawing attention to the functions and future of the New Zealand Institute, your contributor, "Androeles," has made an evidently well meaning attempt to arouse'the Institute to activities that are appropriate to an institution which ranks itself among the leading scientific authorities of the world. "Royal Society" has now come to have a distinctive meaning of its own. It is, the first scientific institution in the country. The parent society is, of course, the Royal Society in England, the status of which is now so high that.mere fellowship is, a great honour. Then we find Royal Societies .throughout the British Empire, varying in the degree^ of honour their membership carries. In Canada membership is based on merit as judged by publications of original research. Elsewhere any one who wishes to join the Royal Societies, may do so, on the recommendation of one or more other members and honours, if any, are expressed by -special, fellowships as in our own' New Zealand Institute, or as it soon will be, Royal Society of New Zealand. In the United States and Franc^, Academies of Science take the* place of Royal Societies.' ''One sentence in "Androcles'" article, "The existence of. .the Institute is liable < to be forgotten until the .annual meeting , once again .thr.uste.it .into.momentary importance," suggests some reflections on the change of. name.... To the question "What's in a name?" the.answer may be that any name will do provided it.is used consistently and applied to everything that comes within its definition.

Now the point about* the name, or rather the names of the New. Zealand Institute, is this, that this body really goes under seven different,, names and hence its work and influence is largely misunderstood. "Androcles" seems to consider the New Zealand Institute as the fifteen-governors who meet annually to discuss subjects common to-the. societies which really comprise the Institute.'There are 1400 or more members of the .New Zealand Institute scattered from end to end of the Dominion. They are organised into six different societies under as many names. No wonder the layman can neither understand nor appreciate the work of the Institute.'' In fact, many of the members of the Institute do not know the relation of the local, society to which they belong to the .board of governors which they, like "Androcles," think is the whole Institute. , ■ . , The names of the societies forming the New Zealand Institute are: Wellington Philosophical Society, Auckland, Institute, Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, Otago Institute, and Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute. Such an array of nam,es, some quite inappropriate, is sufficient to confuse anyone, and it is hoped, perhaps I speak mainly for myself, that on the adoption of the name Royal Society, the various societies will change their names to local branches and thus the very inappropriate and misleading name Wellington, Pliilokiphical Society, will become "Royal Society of New Zealand, Wellington Branch. This will put the Society, in. its. true position and clear away the very, widespread misunderstanding regarding the New Zealand Institute and its work.. Thus, we see there is a great deal in a name, or rather, should I say, in applying a name. Now whentne work of the whole of the societies is taken into' consideration it is found that it has had a very.great influence.on the people of New Zealand. , When, therefore, "Androcles" asks what is the NewV/ealand Institute" doing he is in fact asking what the Wellingfon'Philosophical Society and other kindred bodies are doing. Does he not k.ngw tfie work of the society and of the hiateria). its. members have published, including the. far-reaching suggestion of daylight, saying.by altering the clock. On the. .question.of the economic depression it can. b^.said,,that the perfection of .modern, methods, of production is in large.part.due.tQ.the.work of scientists who are members of some Royal Society or Academy .of .Science, and New Zealand has probably, .contributed its share. As for: the distributive system, scientists can .scarcely, .be.blamed for not enteriiiE this branch of economics. There is, however, a.potable. exception in the person of Professor. .Soddy, .F.R.S., the famous chemist that worked with Lord Ruther-ford.-I am, etc., w R _ B . OLIVER .

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19330602.2.112

Bibliographic details

WHAT'S IN A NAME?, Evening Post, Volume CXV, Issue 128, 2 June 1933

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689

WHAT'S IN A NAME? Evening Post, Volume CXV, Issue 128, 2 June 1933

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