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Biographical entry McInnes, Daniel Ernest (Dan) (1906 - 1998)

Born
3 October 1906
North Carlton, Victoria, Australia
Died
24 September 1998
East Malvern, Victoria, Australia
Occupation
Amateur physicist, Microbiologist and Naturalist

Summary

Dan McInnes was an amateur Victorian naturalist recognised for his research in freshwater and marine microbiology, and for his service to the Field Naturalist community in Victoria. He was an active member of the Microscopical Society of Victoria, and the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria (FNCV) for most of his life. Dan served the FNCV as an elected office bearer for more than forty years, and was President and Treasurer. In 1964, he was awarded Honorary membership of the Club, in recognition of his work in creating a new low-powered microscope more suited to observing living things - the "FNCV Microscope". He also took a leading role in the Hawthorn Junior Field Naturalists Club, as President, and was awarded both an Honorary membership and an Outstanding Service award. Dan's interest in geology, mineralogy and microscopy, and his knowledge of electricity and magnetism, sparked a keen interest in atomic physics. He devised new concept models of 'gravity particles', and ping-pong ball and tetrahedron models of the atomic nucleus, that could model and explain all the patterns and riddles of gravity, electrons, light, magnetism and the mineralogy of the universe.

Details

Dan had an open exploratory mind. After experiencing the disruptions in society in Melbourne during the first World War, he learnt Esperanto, explored Humanism and Rationalism, and tried to understand what was going on in the rapidly changing world around him. He remained a member and financial supporter of the Rationalist Society all his life.

He was an electrician, and studied electrical engineering, but worked most of his life as the proprietor of a successful Delicatessen and Butcher's shop in East Malvern. He was an active member of the Dairy Produce Association and took a leadership role within it.

About 1931 he purchased his first microscope, joined the Microscopical Society of Victoria, and when that society became the Microscopical Group of the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria in 1954, he became a very active member of the FNCV for the rest of his life.

Dan was a recognised authority on Victorian freshwater and marine microbiology, and his shared discoveries were welcomed, and acknowledged, by professional scientists from the Victorian Institute of Marine Sciences, the Museum of Victoria, and the CRC for Freshwater Ecology.

As well as taking a lead role in the Microscopical Group, he was also actively involved with the FNCV Nature Shows, with the Geology Group, and, with his wife Chriss, with the Marine Biology Group and the Hawthorn Junior Field Naturalists Club.

Dan, with fellow microscopist and engineer Wilfred Charles Woollard (1892-1971), designed, developed and produced the "FNCV Microscope", and more than 140 microscopes were made. In May 1964, they both received Honorary memberships of the FNCV, in recognition of their work.

Dan's infectious enthusiasm for pond life, marine life and geology, helped educate fellow Field Naturalists, and encouraged many members of the Hawthorn Junior Field Naturalists Club to pursue careers in Science. He always had something to talk about or display at meetings, and many specimens became topics of well written articles in "The Victorian Naturalist."

His understanding of electricity and magnetism, together with his interest in geology, mineralogy, and looking at slices of rock under the microscope, lead him to take a deeper interest in atoms and particle physics. Following the advent of "Tetra" drink containers in the 1960s, he devised his own conceptual tetrahedron model of alpha-particles and the atomic nucleus. Together with 'gravity particles' or 'gravitons', he could explain all the patterns and riddles of gravity, electrons, light, magnetism and mineralogy. To help explain his concepts, he built a large number of tetrahedron models of atomic nuclei; 'ping-pong' ball and wire models to explain the spinning of neucleons within these models. He shared his ideas freely with geologists, mathematicians, physicist, and other academics, and challenged them to disprove his proposals. In 1994, aged 89, frustrated with the lack of academic interest, he self-published his alternative paradigm as How to Make a Bathing Beauty out of Gravity: or How Many Coincidences Make a Possibility?

Events

c. 1923 - 1931
Career position - Apprentice / Electrician, Newport Workshops, Victorian Railways
c. 1926 - 1932
Education - Studied Electrical Engineering, Working Men's College, Melbourne
c. 1931
Career position - Member, Microscopical Society of Victoria
1932 - c. 1971
Career position - Delicatessen Proprietor, East Malvern, Victoria
1954 - 1964
Career event - Member, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
1957 - 1995
Career position - Councillor, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
1958 - 1959
Career position - Vice-President, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
1959 - 1962
Career position - President, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
c. 1960 - c. 1970
Career position - Chairman, Nature Show Committee, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
1962 - 1964
Career position - Design, developed and produced the "FNCV Microscope", with Wilfred Charles Woollard (1892-1971)
1962 - 1967
Career position - Immediate Past President, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
1962 - 1971
Career position - President, Hawthorn Junior Field Naturalist Club
1964 - 1998
Award - Honorary Member, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
1967 - 1980
Career position - Treasurer, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
1969
Award - Life Member, Hawthorn Junior Field Naturalist Club
1971
Award - Outstanding Service Award, Hawthorn Junior Field Naturalists Club
1983
Taxonomy event - Shepheardella taeniformis, species of foraminifera first recorded in Australia
c. 1986
Taxonomy event - Observation of flowering of Wolffia Australiana one of the smallest flowering plants in the World
1994
Research - Self-published his report on a conceptual model about gravity, electrons, light, and magnetism.

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources

Books

  • Houghton, Sheila and Presland, Gary, Leaves from Our History: the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria, 1880-2005, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria, Box Hill, 2005, 30 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Ananian-Cooper, Barry J.; Houghton, A.V., 'Christiania (Chriss) McInnes 5 January 1910 - 7 September 2010', Victorian Naturalist, vol. 128, no. 1, 2011, pp. 22-24. Details
  • Dahlitz, Ray, 'Obituary of Dan McInnis', The Victorian Humanist, vol. 37, no. 11, 1998, p. 4. Details
  • Houghton, Sheila, 'Tribute, Daniel Ernest McInnes 1906-1998', Victorian Naturalist, vol. 116, no. 1, 1999, pp. 34-36. Details
  • McInnes, D. E., 'The pond hunters dream', Victorian Naturalist, vol. 107, no. 2, 1990, pp. 58-64. Details

Newspaper Articles

  • McInnes, K. G., 'Obituary: Dan McInnes: Naturalist and Microbiologist', The Age, 17 November 1998. Details

Reports

  • McInnes, D. E., How to Make a Bathing Beauty out of Gravity: or How Many Coincidences Make a Possibility?, McInnes, D. E. [Self-published], East Malvern, VIC, 1994, 41 pp. Details

See also

  • Presland, Gary, Understanding our natural world: the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria 1880 - 2015, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria, Blackburn, Vic., 2016, 275 pp. Details

Ken McInnes