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Hong Kong Annual Report, 1957/Chapter 18

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The research programme at the University of Hong Kong has been continued during 1957.

Current research projects in the Department of History include work on aspects of the political and social history of South-East Asia since 1870, on the history of Hong Kong with special reference to constitutional development, on the history of problems of language communication between the English East India Company and Chinese officials at Canton in the early nineteenth century, and on the beginnings of modern Chinese industry in Shanghai. A new History of Hong Kong has been completed and is in the press.

The Department of Geography and Geology is continuing with research on land-use in the colony and on the extent and characteristics of local clays, sands and tungsten minerals, and a printed memoir on land-use in Hong Kong will be published early in 1958. A major project has been started with the re-mapping of the geology of the New Territories on a scale of 1:20,000.

In the Department of Education fields of research which have resulted in publications during 1957 include comparative education, mental health problems in education, and the educational implications of the processes of cultural and ethnic fusion in communities in the tropics. Progress has also been made in the study of comparative mental health problems and in juvenile delinquency, as well as in certain teaching techniques and the construction of teaching aids from local materials.

In the Department of Economics and Political Science research projects have been carried out with the support of the Government of Hong Kong, the Asia Foundation, the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, and the results have mostly been published as monographs or articles. Local surveys carried out include those on the resettlement estates, the Colony's national income, trade with the United States, the fishing industry, housing in Hong Kong, and radio audiences. Research into current economic problems in China has included a study of China's light industry, its structure of economic planning, its foreign trade and its capital formation. The Department has also made a study, in collaboration with the Universities of Bombay and Malaya, of the elasticity of the demand for rice, and the functions of the middle-men and the co-operative societies in the production and marketing of fish.

Research in the Department of Modern Languages has included the study of vernaculars arising from contact between the West and Asian countries. An analysis of three Spanish Creole dialects of the Philippines has already been published and a survey of the Macanese sub-dialect of Hong Kong is now in progress.

Results of research work in the Department of Chinese and the Institute of Oriental Studies are published from time to time in journals, including the University's Journal of Oriental Studies. Larger works both in English and Chinese, already published, in the press, or in preparation, include The Classical Theatre in China; A Complete History of the Tai-p'ing T'ien-Kuo in three volumes; Chronological Tables of Chinese History; a dictionary: Common Chinese Characters Explained, and a much larger Compilation of Chinese Characters; Characteristics of Chinese Civilization; Chinese Costumes; and a Biography of Mei Lan-fang.

In the Department of Biology research has been pursued in the fields of neurology, entomology, algology, and fisheries. The Fisheries Research Unit has continued to work along the lines already laid down, the main fields of activity being related to the oyster industry, pond-fish culture, ichthyology, and oceanography. The research vessel 'Alister Hardy' has continued survey work designed to assess the various factors, of which the Pearl River is the most significant, affecting the fishing grounds within the range of the Hong Kong fishing fleet.

New discoveries made in the Department of Chemistry in the fields of synthetic organic compounds, products from Hong Kong plants, and the mechanisms of chemical reactions are continuing to attract attention in many parts of the world. In the Department of Physics research work is being carried out on the properties of super-cooled liquids.

In the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology results of the radiological investigation of the morphology of the Chinese female pelvis await publication and work is continuing on problems relating to toxaemias of pregnancy and accidental haemorrhage.

Research in the Department of Physiology has been carried out along three lines: a study of complexes between plasma proteins and haemoglobins of various animals, metabolic effects produced by alphatocopheryl (vitamin E), and metabolic responses to cold.

In the Department of Civil Engineering the research programme is being continued on the solution of field problems by electrical analogy and using the electrolytic tank designed and built by the staff in 1956. Results of research on fields near bundle conductors, seepage of water in soils and torsion of rectangular beams have been published. Experimental research is being conducted on the behaviour of encased steel frames in the plastic range of stress and on the load-carrying capacity of pre-stressed concrete frames. Large scale frames are being manufactured in the Department and tested to destruction. During testing operations accurate strain and deflexion measurements are being recorded, and it is hoped that the results of these tests can be applied to the economic design of multi-storey building frames in Hong Kong.

For Meteorological research, see under Royal Observatory, page 279.