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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Institute of Nuclear Sciences

Nuclear science was becoming a specialised field of interest both to Government scientists and to universities. Towards the end of 1957, the Government and the University of New Zealand invited two distinguished Australian scientists, Leslie H. Martin and J. P. Baxter, to advise on the development of nuclear science training and research in New Zealand. This visit was closely followed by a visit from a United States Atomic Energy Mission, headed by R. K. Kirk. The result of these visits was that Cabinet, on 3 June 1958, approved the establishment of an Institute of Nuclear Sciences, as a branch of D.S.I.R. to be administered by the Department in collaboration with the University of New Zealand. It also recommended the appointment of an Atomic Energy Committee, the preparation of plans for the Institute, and the purchase of a 3 Mev. proton-electron Van de Graaff accelerator as the first major nuclear machine for the Institute. In May 1959, the Public Service Commission appointed T. A. Rafter director of the Institute of Nuclear Sciences. Negotiations for the site of the Institute were necessarily prolonged. It was finally decided to develop the Gracefield site, near Wellington, and Cabinet approved the expenditure of £374,000 for the establishment of the first stage of the Institute.

by Thomas Athol Rafter, O.B.E., M.SC., F.R.S.N.Z., Director, New Zealand Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Lower Hutt.