History of IAWS


The main subject in 1967 was the 1st Plenary Meeting of IAWS at Salzburg, Sept. 2, involving the important Action Program. Among other matters is correspondence about:

A. Salzburg. Sept. 2.

This meeting was planned in 1966. It was organized in two parts, one before and one after lunch as presented in the printed program (Appendix5). The morning session was open for the 21 Academy Members (from 13 countries) and 55 Guests (held at Mozarteum), whereas the afternoon session was internal with Members only (held at Hotel Stiegelbräu) but with two representatives of Salzburg University and one from FAO and one from IUFRO, being in all scientists and experts from 26 countries (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Ecuador, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Germany (F.R.), Great Britain, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Nat. China, Repl. of Central Africa, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Venezuela, USA, Zambia).
The meeting was ended with a reception by the Salzburg Authorities, who gave (in German) evidence of their profound knowledge of the economic importance of wood in the Salzburg area, and expressed cordial feelings towards the scientific guests from Europe and overseas. (The greetings were translated into English and French by the Secretary-General, Professor Mörath.)

The Academy President Professor Franz Kollmann opened the meeting and introduced the Ministerial Counsellor Stephan Nagy (representing Minister V.Kotzina), who bade delegates welcome to a small country, needing cooperation with other countries in the field of wood research. The IAWS meeting thus was most welcome to Austria, it being an honour to have Vienna as the meeting place.

Professor Kollmann in his lecture about IAWS (Appendix5) emphasized the necessity for international research on fundamental problems. The notion « Wood Science » (formed by him in 1944) had become a reality. He mentioned that about 2000 wood species (out of perhaps 40000) were currently of interest to industry. He spoke also about the importance of forestry and the problems in underdeveloped countries. The goal of IAWS is to stimulate development on a scientific basis.

Professor Kollmann summarized the reasons for the establishment of IAWS :

On this basis Kollmann devised the tasks of IAWS and what IAWS should do. He also mentioned the maximum limit of 100 ordinary members (Fellows), the election of Corresponding Members, the Officials, the Board of Advisors, having 15 members plus representatives of FAO (the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations) and IUFRO (Section 41) and the 3 classes (biological/anatomical, chemical, physical/technological).

Finally Kollmann mentioned the location of a Permanent Secretariat in Wien (Vienna), Austria, and the Declaration, signed by leading personalities around the world.

After Professor Kollmann the President of the Austrian Society of Wood Research, Professor J. Kisser (Chairman of the IAWS Board of Advisors) pointed to the close connection between the Society and IAWS and expressed sincere thanks for the location of the Permanent Secretariat at the premises of his Society, giving IAWS access to a large library and to other services. He also praised the choice of Professor Mörath as Secretary-General. He pointed out the necessity of personal discussions among leading scientists. It would not mean any competition with national wood research institutes/societies nor with other international organizations in the fields of wood. On the contrary such organizations cooperate with IAWS. (Representatives of Germany, Switzerland and Austria had held joint Wood Science Meetings since 1952.)

Dr. J. Swiderski (representative for Professor Osara of FAO) stated that FAO and IAWS have vital areas of common interest, though FAO is mainly concerned with forests (including developing countries) and studies on timber trends and prospects etc, while IAWS deals with « high level » scientific work. He warned about substitution of wood with other materials and about insufficiency of forest resources. Research aims in the first place to make forest products better and cheaper. Thus the work of IAWS has a direct bearing on long-term policy lines within FAO.

In his lecture « The Ultrastructure of wood » Professor Frey-Wyssling (Appendix5) (representing the biology class) used numerous electronic micrographs and gave a demonstration of the formation of the cell wall from its earliest beginnings. The first stage of the young cell wall is an isotropic gel, a matrix. This matrix is fortified by cellulose microfibrils, giving the system elasticity. Hemicelluloses are part of the gel, while lignin is formed at a later stage as an incrustation. The ultrastructure of cellulose is known best with its micro fibrils, seemingly formed by agglomeration of elementary fibrils. The lecture also commented on the technological properties of wood (hydrated and dry) and the calculation of longitudinal shrinkage, depending on the inclination angle of the trachedial helical texture, but complicated by anisotropic shrinkage.

Professor Kratzl (representing the chemical disicpline) delineated the task of elucidating the constitution of the wood substance (Appendix5), which is the basis of the chemical-technological utilization. He made a comparison between the function and the technological purpose of wood. Furthermore he gave an account on the biogenesis of cellulose and the hemicelluloses, but the main part of the lecture was directed to the biogenesis of lignin and of its properties, including the prospect of technical utilization. The Erdtmann theory on phenol dehydrogenation, and experimental proofs by Freudenberg and Kratzl himself in lignin formation were discussed in detail. Decomposition of wood was mentioned briefly and at the end of the lecture he gave an outlook to future work, especially biochemical methods.

The last lecturer, Professor Fukada (Appendix5) (a representative of the physics/technology class) presented observations of mechanical deformation of wood and the electrical polarization produced, the effects being similar to those observed in crystalline substances. An anisotropy in the piezoelectric effect was found with the direction of stresses (orientation towards the fibre axis). The effect may be understood by assuming the unidirectional orientation of cellulose crystallites in fibres. The effect on the phase angle at sinusoidal stress on the wood specimen was also studied but was less understood. The physiological significance of piezoelectric properties of cellulose in plants was apparently unnoticed by others.

The IAWS internal meeting after lunch (members only) had three main items on the agenda :

  1. Action Program for the next 3 yrs. and election of a sub-committee.
  2. Amendments to the Constitution and election of a sub-committee.
  3. Proposals concerning the procedure for election of new members and election of another sub-committee.

After a few remarks on the role of IAWS, some difficulties were indicated such as the use of different languages and erroneous translations by non-experts. English would yield bridges between continents.

The Quarterly Review (WST) was commented on very positively. The Secretary-General, Professor Mörath gave an outline of the chief events in the development of IAWS (as presented above) with the Permanent Secretariat starting January 1st, 1966, the foundation meeting held in Paris June 2nd, 1966, where 25 members were elected and the Board of Advisors was constituted (13 members).

It became evident that the number of Fellow members was too small to be a worldwide organization. A single (joint) Circle of Sponsors and Friends could not be realized owing to the legal and taxation differences around the world. As foreseen in the original budget draft the Secretariat ñ to be effective ñ must have a responsible (salaried) administrator and collaborators of high standing.

The Organization Scheme was discussed but an approval would have to await the matter of financing.

B. The Action Program

The (non-member) Dean McCarthy in Seattle had arranged for Professor Mörath to meet with 6 local wood scientists (Bethol, Thomas, Sarkanen, Allan, Gardener, Timell) to discuss the proposal to arrange (under the aegis of IAWS) a Wood Chemistry Symposium in 1969, attached to the XI International Botanical Congress. The symposium would have TAPPI and ACS (American Chemical Society) involved. Interest had also been shown by Walker (Seattle), Roge (Canada) and Adler and Rånby (Sweden). The Seattle meeting received strong approval. Further meetings (symposia) were suggested, e.g. in India (Bangalore), in France (Nogent-Sur Marne) and in Wisconsin (Madison).

Several important matters were examined in the discussion (though some only in passing). The correspondence on the Action Program had grown voluminous and was partly conflicting. It was suggested to appoint an « Action Program Committee » for the whole Academy. As members the names of Boyd, Dickinson, Liese, Kratzl, Perkitny and Thunell were mentioned. However, Kollmann pointed out that this matter required a formal procedure.

Amendments to the Constitution were considered briefly and were found to be a difficult item. Again the establishment of a Committee for the purpose was suggested.

Professor Dickinson commented on his efforts to solicit Supporters and Friends. He made the noteworthy proposal to establish another class of membership, the Academic Institutions, which could each contribute at least USD 100 per year and have privileges and rights of an Associate Member and to name a representative, who would get the Academy publications. He included this membership in his proposal for the Constitution, which was accepted. The already existing university sponsors in USA and Canada paid fees because their economic support comes from private funds. Companies, which gave support, got the WST Journal and could participate in open meetings. Kollmann explained that Germany (FR) financed IAWS to about 80%. Other contributors were Austria and Japan. Some countries like India could only contribute by arranging meetings. (Kollmann had. spent about USD 5000 of private money over 3½ years.)

Nominations of new members were sent to the Board of Advisors. In principle the candidate should not be informed before being elected. However, in the beginning candidates were asked before nomination if they would accept membership.

The IAWS Salzburg meeting was announced in journals within the wood realm. The IAWS' Journal (WST) had a report in Vol. 1 (1967) p.321. Among other journals with accounts were Holz Technology, Holz Zentralblatt, Internationaler Holzmarkt, World Wood.

Some of the Salzburg items were again discussed by the President, the Vice President and the Secretary-General at the (above mentioned) conference in Munich. One detail from Salzburg was clarified : Academic Institutions (such as Universities) cannot legally be Sponsors but can pay USD 100 (or more) as a membership fee. It was also stated that the Academy may elect persons, carrying out research of a high standard in areas related to wood science as Associates.

Another detail in the « after-Salzburg » correspondence was the IAWS' budget. A draft budget for a « normal » year was given by the Secretary-General on September 22, 1967 (In USD) :

(Contributions by Sponsors, Friends)
Australia, N.Z. 1500 Office costs(rent etc) 936
Austria 100 Travel 3120
Canada 5000 Office suppl. 3120
France 2000 Telegr.,teleph. 314
Germany (FR) 4000 Postal charges 630
Japan 1000 WST,other publ. 3000
Finland 250 Conf., meetings 3000
Sweden 750 Awards 1380
Switzerland 500 Expense account 2000
USA 7000 (Secr.Gen.) 1800
    Clerical salaries 5700
In all 23000 In all 25000
Goal 25000    

The 1967 income in the München-Bank was (in Marks) 13.986, of which 10,955 was a transfer from 1966. Expenditure was 10,371, leaving a transfer of 3,615 to 1968. The correspondence indicated that elected Officers would not obtain a salary. Several letters dealt with the position of the Secretary-General, who was elected but apparently was not paid for full-time work at the University until reaching retirement age. Instead of a salary an honorarium could be given (in addition to the expense account). The employees in his staff and the details of the Secretariat operations (in addition to the work of the Secretary-General) are not included in this review.

The Constitution topic generated (as indicated above) a massive correspondence, which will only get a few comments. Constitution revisions made from time to time are not appended to this report, since it is very unlikely that anyone reading it will be interested in the details. (Note that all the Constitution versions in the archive are undated and therefore difficult or impossible to place in sequence) It is of more interest to examine the views of the members of IAWS before , at, and particularly after the Salzburg conference. The correspondence reveals both concern about and belief in IAWS. It was decided to use the word Fellows for personal ordinary members.

C. The Constitution text

The text approved in Salzburg was studied by Dr J.D.Boyd (Australia), who suggested some improvements of the text but above all important amendments. The Vice-President Dickinson studied these proposals and added suggestions in a proposal of his own, but, as already stated, the details of the changes to the Constitution are not included in this review.

During discussion about electing new Fellows it was noted that an equilibrium of members in the three classes should be observed. Though the number of members was far from 100, their increase was to be limited for financial reasons, since the members are given privileges, e.g. free WST, for which the Academy had to pay Springer Verlag. (« Free » journal copies were also given to Sponsors and Friends, being a fruitful argument for joining the IAWS.)

D. The economy of IAWS

This was a consistent theme in the correspondence. Since IAWS in no way deals with trade, it would (normally) be possible for contributors to obtain tax reductions. The financial strength of IAWS was based on the (optimistic) supposition that one could count on money given by Sponsors and Friends, who could perceive the value of and necessity for such a world-wide Academy. Known contributions and expectations are indicated in the table presented above. Sponsor circles were formed (slowly) in Germany (FR), Austria, Japan, Switzerland. An important source was the Academic Institutions, paying yearly USD 100. Nevertheless financial uncertainties were often reiterated in the correspondence.

It is interesting to note that already in 1967 suggestions were aired that Fellows ought to pay (voluntarily?) a small fee for their membership. Members who work for organizations related to wood industries ñ i.e. Associates - were to pay USD 50 yearly.

E. Other matters

It was decided that several matters (e.g. elections) could not reasonably be handled at Plenary Meetings only. The participation of Fellows in meetings was likely to be too limited and the Academy is world-wide. To enable all Fellows to take part in decisions it was decided to use postal ballots, involving the participation of a Tellers Committee.

In the scientific undertakings IAWS must adhere carefully to its purpose. Thus it must avoid giving the impression that IAWS operations rival those of other organizations, either national or world-wide. This aspect is generally stated in the correspondence and in the editorial work with WST. A requirement to assemble a Constitution, which is indisputable in every detail, is evident, but it must not be met by just increasing its length. The text has to be short, using clear and significant sentences. A regular problem was to decide if a matter (detail) should be part of Constitution or Bylaws, the length of Bylaws being less important. (The stipulations in Bylaws are a matter for the Board of Advisors.)

Among other items may be mentioned the assent that a Fellow emeritus (68+) has the same rights as a Fellow. Most of the recurring events (like elections) shall not take place more that once a year.

In a 5 page. Appendix (Appendix6) is given :

Last : IAWS' Activities in 1966
Next : IAWS' Activities in 1968