S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Milne, Mr William (invertebrate zoology)

Born: 1849, Scotland, United Kingdom.
Died: Date not known, Place not known.

William Milne was a Scottish expert on microscopic life, particularly Rotifera (active, multicellular microscopic organisms found mainly in fresh water). From 1883 to 1889 he delivered five papers before the Glasgow Philosophical Society which were published in its Proceedings. Three of these papers dealt with rotifers, describing some new species and considering their taxonomy. The other two papers dealt with the Protozoa and Infusoria.

Milne became a member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1885 and was still a member in 1905, when he was listed as residing in Aberdeen, Scotland. In that year he published notes on seven rotifer species that he had found in the Cape Colony. His paper, "On the function of the water vascular system in Rotifera, with notes on South African Floscularia" was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow in 1905. (Floscularia is a sub-group of rotifers which live in a fixed tube). Years later, in 1916, he published an extensive review, "On the bdelloid Rotifera of South Africa" in the Journal of the Queckett Microscopical Club (Vol. 13, pp. 47-93 and 149-184). (The bdelloid Rotifera are free-swimming and possess a telescopic forked tail).

This rotifer expert appears to be the same person as William Milne (MA, BSc) who lived in South Africa for many years. He was appointed deputy inspector (later inspector) of schools in the Cape Colony in February 1893 and was listed in the annual Civil service list of the Cape Colony from 1894 to 1910, except that in 1905 (when he may have been in Aberdeen) his name appears in the index but not among those of the school inspectors. After the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 he became an inspector of schools in the Cape Province to at least 1914. By that time he had been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was co-author, with J.R. Whitton, of Longman's geographical reader for South Africa (London, 1894), and the author of Milne's Geography. Standard II (Cape Town, 1897, 18 pp). The latter pamphlet dealt with how to teach geography, with special reference to the Cape Peninsula. William Milne, MA, BSc, was also an examiner for the University of the Cape of Good Hope during 1895-1898, setting papers in physics and inorganic chemistry at the BA and Honours levels. In the South African bibliography... William Milne's dates are given as 1849 or 1850 to 1896, which is either an error or the information above pertains to more than one person.

List of sources:
Brain, C.K. The status of rotifer research in South Africa with an account of Charles F. Rousselet's early explorations. Transvaal Museum Bulletin, 1987, No. 22, pp. 13-20.

British Association for the Advancement of Science. Report of the seventy-fifth meeting... South Africa, 1905. London: John Murray, 1906.

Cape of Good Hope. Civil service list, 1894-1899, 1901-1903, 1905-1910.

Google scholar. http://scholar.google.co.za Publications by W. Milne.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers [1800-1900]. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

Union of South Africa. Public service list, 1914.

University of the Cape of Good Hope. Calendar, 1895/6-1898/9.

Compiled by: C. Plug