Oscar Werner Tiegs
|Oscar Werner Tiegs|
|Born||12 March 1897
Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Australia
|Died||5 November 1956
Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia
|Institutions||University of Adelaide
University of Melbourne
|Known for||Contributions to the phylogenetic division of arthropoda|
|Notable awards||David Syme Research Prize (1928)
Clarke Medal (zoology) (1956)
Fellow of the Royal Society
Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (1954)
His contribution to the division of the phylum arthropoda into two parts, one including insecta, myriapoda, and peripatus, and the other including trilobites, crustacea, and arachnids, is considered to be an important contribution to zoology. He was acknowledged as having a remarkable ability for apt and beautiful drawings, and as being an excellent microscopist, as having a great capacity for meticulous accuracy, persistent work, and shrewd illicitation of relationships from massive detail. He is considered one of Australia's great zoologists and as having a permanent place in the history of zoology.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Adult life
- 3 Career
- 4 Memoria
- 5 Publications
- 6 Chronology
- 7 References
Early life and education
Oscar Tiegs' father, Prussian born Otto Theodor Carl Tiegs, and mother, Helene Caroline Ottilie, née Meyer, from Hanover, migrated to Australia from Germany. The Royal Society states that Otto Tiegs had careers in both pharmacy and engineering, and had a high regard for learning, while others state that he was a merchant. In particular, in 1920 under oath, Tiegs described himself as a merchant.
As a child, he was fascinated by insects and put together a collection of about one thousand named beetles, which was eventually taken in by the Queensland Museum. He described himself as a timid but industrious boy with an absorbing interest in insects, and acknowledged the support of the Queensland Government entomologist, Henry Tyson.
University of Queensland
At the University of Queensland he studied science, specialising in biology under Thomas Harvey Johnston, where he received training in animal morphology. He was awarded his Bachelor of Science in 1919. During his honours course, he produced his first research paper: an anatomical study of the echiuroid worm (pseudobonelia). He received his Master of Science in 1921, at the age of 25. He wanted to study medicine, but there was no medical school in Queensland, so instead continued into zoology.
In 1920 he was the beneficiary of a Walter and Eliza Hall Fellowship in econonmic biology. He worked with scientists researching the control of the blowfly and prickly pear in Queensland, and was involved in the campaign to eradicate hookworm.
Tiegs was known to form lasting friendships, even from relatively brief associations. For example, colleagues he met only once while on a trip to Europe in 1928, had fond memories of him. He was known as Sandy Tiegs to his friends and colleagues.
Tiegs was always interested in learning and research, and was known to find administration and committee work distasteful. This would appear to be at odds with his being a Councillor, and Chair of the Library Committee, for the The Royal Society of Victoria.
As head of the Melbourne University's Department of Zoology, he encouraged research and empowered his staff to set their own courses of activity with a directed freedom that nurtured world class research. He tended not to be interested in the research of others unless it was closely aligned with his own, yet was proud of his staff and was keen to show visitors what his staff were doing.
He lectured without notes, mainly to first year students, to whom he gave a solid background in elementary zoology and comparative morphology, in a manner which was considered a model of presentation and clarity. He gave special lectures on arthropod evolution and the vertebrate nervous system to senior students. However, Oscar Tiegs' involvement in imparting knowledge started much earlier than his time at the University of Melbourne, he being a student demonstrator in biology at the University of Queensland in 1918.
In 1954 Oscar Tiegs was one of 23 Foundation Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science, and along with the other 22 foundation fellows was a petitioner to Queen Elizabeth II for the Academy's charter. He, Sydney Sunderland, and Thomas MacFarland Cherry, two other petioners and foundation members were responsible for drafting the by-laws of the newly formed Academy
The Melbourne University's zoological museum, now called the Tiegs Museum, owes much of the quality of its collection to Oscar Tiegs. He spent time and care improving and extending its holdings, based on his belief in the traditional morphological approach to zoology.
Oscar Tiegs was a prodigious worker, and, for example, would take on extra lecturing duties during staff absences to not load his other staff, and only in later years did he balance his time more out of work. He was fond of music, in particular Beethoven and Mozart, and critically appreciated pictures. These interests, of music, art, and literature he shared with his wife Ethel.
Some felt Oscar Tiegs, while honest, was direct to the point of bluntness, and had a keen sense of humour. He was known for supportive letters sent to friends during World War II, and the gift parcels sent by him and his wife. Oscar Tiegs' geographical isolation, and his own diffidence probably prevented him from maximising his contribution to zoology, although rather than diffidence others describe it as an unassuming disposition. He is described as shy and reserved, preferring the laboratory to the committee meeting or social function.
Ocsar Tiegs' scientific interests and contributions ranged from the physiological analysis of nervous and muscular action to invertebrate embryology, his studies being comparable to the very best work the last century. He repeatedly turned from one area of research to another, only to return again. He was a dedicated practiser of descriptive morphology during a period when the majority of biologists were turning to experimentation.
Typically, even his first research paper, was to describe something unusually interesting, namely that the male of the echiuroid worm exhibits a greater degree of degeneration than other species, the tissues fusing with those of its female partner and the host.
He briefly made some helminthological investigations, for example with hookworm, and monogeneans  before moving to the newly created Department of Zoology at the University of Adelaide in 1922.
University of Adelaide
At Adelaide, because of the absence of Professor Johnston, he was appointed Acting Chair of Zoology, as acting head of the department he organised the new department and its teaching. Here he was influenced by Wood Jones, Professor of Anatomy, and the physiologist Professor Brailsford Robertson, one of the pupils of Jacques Loeb. Oscar Tiegs spent three years at Adelaide, during which time he was granted a Bachelor of Science degree in 1922 and obtained his Doctorate of Science degree in 1922 both from the University of Adelaide, at the age of 25, his thesis being on the histology of metamorphosis of a chalcid wasp (Nasonia), specifically Nasonia brevicornis (now designated Nasonia vitripennis).
Oscar Tiegs' doctoral thesis work was to be the basis for much of his later work, in embryological studies, and the study of fine structures in muscle. He found clear evidence that the apparent striation of muscle fibres did not arise from separate disks, but from a helicoidal organisation within the fibre. He also found a similar condition in vertebrate muscles. Later he discovered that former histologists had recorded the same thing, but their observations had received little attention. He contended that helicoidal striation is a general feature of muscles and that muscular conduction takes place along this helicoidal path, even though the evidence for this generality was against him, yet his cinematographic records supported his interpretation for arachnids and other arthropods.
In 1925 he published the results of experiments regarding the importance of creatine. This line of research was inspired by the lactic acid hypotheses of muscular action at the time and before phosphagen was discovered.
University of Melbourne
In 1928 he obtained a Rockefeller Travelling Fellowship to visit Europe, where he worked for a while in the Anatomical School at Cambridge University, England, then headed by Professor Wilson, and in the Anatomical School at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, then headed by Professor Boecke.
As a histologist Oscar Tiegs developed an interest in Boecke's suggestion of a double innervation of vertebrate skeletal muscle. From this interest he undertook a physiological investigation of the sympathetic system in the muscle, finding no such action except in blood vessels, all muscular action seemingly being caused by an adrenalin-like substance.
Oscar Tiegs in this work corrected errors and ambiguities in the work of others, and showed the validity of some traditional interpretations.
Similarly, his experiments with Wilfred Eade Agar to test William McDougall's supposed demonstration of Lamarckian inheritance of training in rats were negative and showed the inadequacy of McDougall's controls, the first results being published in 1935.
Phylogenetics of arthropoda
In 1933 Oscar Tiegs was granted a Master of Science degree from the University of Melbourne, and according to the Royal Society became Associate Professor of Zoology at Melbourne University, whereas according to the Australian Academy of Science and others this appointment occurred in 1931, in particular the University of Melbourne, for recognition of the value of his researches, and his interests returned to insect metamorphosis. He followed the development of three species, the beetle calandra, the symphylan hansenialla, and pauropus. He found the concept of rejuvenation to be invalid. He showed the impossibility of reconciling midgut development with a normal gastriculation process. Building on this work he undertook a four year investigation of the embryology of the symphylan hanseniella agailis, followed by a three study of the embryology of pauropus silvaticus. He showed contrary to expectation that the progoneate genital ducts did not arise as is usual from coelomoducts in the embryo, but secondarily as epidermal ingrowths late in larval life, the progoneate form was merely a secondary adaptation to the anamorphic mode of growth of some myriapods by which new segments become added to the posterior end of the growing larva. 
Oscar Tiegs thus showed that the characteristic of being opisthogoneate, that is with posterior genital openings, and the characteristic of progoneate, that is with the genital opening differently placed, anteriorly, are not dichotomous, and thus reduced the significance of the until then corresponding major classificatory zoological division. He proposed a new classification scheme based on head structure, this being supported by later work by others regarding antennal muscles, and locomotive behaviour and machinery in the relevant animals.
At the time of his death in 1956, Oscar Tiegs left a full draft of a review on the evolution of arthropoda. Its final preparation and publication was undertaken by friends and colleagues. Oscar Tiegs typically also known for this work.
Further major work and recognition
- his work on insect embryology and metamorphosis, and the embyrology of Symphyla;
- his experimental studies on the innervation of skeletal muscle and the functional relation of the sympathetic system to muscle (Orbeli effect);
- his histological work on muscle, especially the helicoidal structure of the striated muscle fibre;
- and other research concerning: histology of the neurosynapse; innervation of teeth; chemical transmission at dorsal root nerve endings.
In 1951 Professor Wilfred Agar died and Oscar Tiegs became Professor and took over as head of the Melbourne University Zoological Department.
Others state that Oscar Tiegs took the Chair of Zoology at the University of Melbourne in 1948 upon the retirement of Professor Wilfred Agar.
In 1954 he took sabbatical leave and travelled overseas a second time supported by a British Council travel grant. This second trip provided Oscar Tiegs with the opportunity to be formally admitted to the Royal Society, after being elected as a Fellow 10 years earlier. While in England he also chaired a session of the Sixth Commonwealth Entomological Conference. He also delivered a series of three lectures on the flight muscles of insects at the University of London during March 1954
Oscar Tiegs returned to his area of doctoral studies for what was to be his last research, an exhaustive study of the flight muscles of insects and other arthropod muscles published in 1955. This analysis of the comparative myology and evolution of wide range of insect's flight muscles showed how such muscles evolved structurally at a histological level. He showed that the histogenesis of muscle in orthoptera (butterflies, moths, etc.) and simpler insects by the repeated division of rudimentary muscle fibres, but in higher orders of insect, free individual myoblasts applicate to young muscle fibres laying down a new fibril, contributing sarcoplasm and nuclei.
In 1956 Oscar Tiegs was awarded the Clarke Medal by the Royal Society of New South Wales, although the Australian Academy of Science has him listed, incorrectly, as receiving this award in 1928.
The University of Melbourne's zoological museum, established in 1887, is now named The Tiegs Museum after Oscar Tiegs. Oscar Tiegs was responsible for substantially improving the museum's collection, which was housed in its own room in the old Zoology Building. The room was called "The Tiegs Museum" and this title was now been officially adopted, and followed the museum to its new location in the Zoology Department's new premises in 1988.
Canberra, the national capital of Australia, names its streets after nationally significant people, places, and events. Tiegs Place, a street in the suburb of Florey in Canberra, is named after Oscar Tiegs, notably for:
Biologist; Walter and Eliza Hall Fellow in Economic Biology, 1920; on staff, Zoology Department, Queensland University; Lecturer, Melbourne University, 1925; David Syme Research Prize and Rockefeller Travelling Fellow, 1948; Fellow, Academy of Science; President, Section D meeting, ANZAAS, 1949; Dean of Faculty of Science, 1950-52; important research on insect metamorphosis; published numerous papers and articles.
Kangaroo Point Natural History Project
Included along a heritage trail through the CT White and James Warner parks at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Queensland, are interpretive signs which commemorate the life and work of Oscar Tiegs as one the pioneering scientists from the area.
- 1922 Researches on the insect metamorphosis. Doctoral Thesis on the histology of metamorphosis of the Chalcid wasp, Nasonia.
- 1922 On the arrangement of the striations of voluntary muscle fibres in double spirals.
- 1938 Memoirs: The Embryonic Development of Calandra oryzae. (with Florence V. Murray) see Sitophilus oryzae the rice weevil.
- 1942 The ‘Dorsal Organ’ of the Embryo of Campodea.
- 1945 Memoirs: The Post-Embryonic Development of Hanseniella Agilis (Symphyla).
- 1947 The development and affinities of the Pauropoda, based on a study of Pauropus silvaticus.
- 1955 The Path of the Slow Contractile Wave in Arthropod Muscle Fibre. (with E. Matthaei) Photographic records are consistent with the hypothesis that the slow waves move along the helicoid.
Life events summary
|Chronology of events for Oscar Werner Tiegs|
Rutherford Ness Robertson
- "Tiegs, Oscar Werner". Biographical entry. Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
- Pantin, C. F. A. (1957). "Oscar Werner Tiegs. 1897-1956". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 3: 247–226. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1957.0017. JSTOR 769364.
- "Tiegs, Oscar Werner". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
- A. M. Clarke (1957-01-12). "Prof. O. W. Tiegs, F.R.S.". Nature 179: 72. Bibcode:1957Natur.179...72C. doi:10.1038/179072a0.
- Affidavit to the matter of Carl Louis Wilhelm Hoyer, plaintiff, Otto Theodor Carl Tiegs defendant, No. 218 of 1901, before Justice Cooper, sworn 1902-05-26
- Bachelor of Science Certificate, University of Queensland; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/3/1
- Master of Science Certificate, University of Queensland; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/3/1
- "Manuscript Collection - MS 076 - TIEGS, Oscar Werner, FAA (1897-1956)". Australian Academy of Science. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
- Letter from University of Queensland Registrar to Oscar Werner Tiegs dated 1920-04-08; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/1/5
- "Recent Acquisitions List 102". Michael Treloar - Antiquarian Booksellers. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- "Approaching Centenary". Royal Society of Victoria. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
- Letter from University of Queensland Registrar to Oscar Werner Tiegs dated 1918-03-26; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/1/5
- "The Charter". Australian Academy of Science. Archived from the original on 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
- "Biographical Memoirs - Sunderland". Australian Academy of Science. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
- Johnston, T. A. & Tiegs, O. W. 1922: New gyrodactyloid trematodes from Australian fishes together with a reclassification of the super-family Gyrodactyloidea. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 47, 83-131.
- Letter from Registrar of the University of Adelaide to Oscar Werner Tiegs dated 1921-09-13; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/1/5
- Bachelor of Science Certificate, University of Adelaide; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/3/1
- Doctor of Science Certificate, University of Adelaide; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/3/1
- "Title page, Contents, and Abstract for thesis for Doctorate of Science degree: Researches on the insect metamorphosis: Part I On the post-embryonic development of a chalcid wasp, nasonia; Part II On the physiology and interpretation of the insect metamorphosis" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-09-22.
- "On the arrangement of the striations of voluntary muscle fibres in double spirals". Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 46: 222. 1922.
- "The function of creatine in muscular contraction". Australian Journal of Experimental Biology and Medical Science 2: 1. 1925. doi:10.1038/icb.1925.1.
- Tiegs, O. W. (1952). "Wilfred Eade Agar. 1882-1951". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society 8 (21): 2–1. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1952.0001. JSTOR 768796.
- W E Agar, F H Drummond (1935). "First report on a test of McDougall's Lamarckian experiment on the training of rats". Journal of Experimental Biology 12: 191.
- W E Agar, F H Drummond (1942). "Second report on a test of McDougall's Lamarckian experiment on the training of rats". Journal of Experimental Biology 19: 158.
- W E Agar, F H Drummond (1948). "Third report on a test of McDougall's Lamarckian experiment on the training of rats". Journal of Experimental Biology 25: 103.
- W E Agar, F H Drummond, M M Gunson (1954). "Fourth (final) report on a test of McDougall's Lamarckian experiment on the training of rats". Journal of Experimental Biology 31: 308.
- Master of Science Certificate, University of Melbourne; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/3/1
- Letter from University of Melbourne Registrar to Oscar Werner Tiegs dated 1931-07-1931; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/1/5
- Florence V Murray (1935). "The metamorphosis of calandra oryzae". Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science 77: 405.
- Florence V Murray (1938). "The embryonic development of calandra oryzae". Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science 80: 159.
- "The embryology and affinities of the Symphyla, based on a study of hanseniella agailis". Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science 82: 1. 1940.
- "The dorsal organ of collembolan embryos". Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science 83: 153. 1942.
- "The dorsal organ of the embyo of campodea". Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science 84: 35. 1942.
- "The post-embryonic development and affinities of the pauropoda, based on a study of pauropus silvaticus". Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science 88: 165. 1947.
- "Biological Reviews - The Evolution of the Arthropda". Wiley InterSciece on behalf of Cambridge Philosophical Society. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- Membership of the Royal Society, Royal Society, Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/3/1
- "Tiegs, Oscar Werner - Certificates of Election and Candidature". Royal Society. Retrieved 2008-10-01.[dead link]
- Letter from University of Melbourne Registrar to OScar Werner Tiegs dated 1947-06-16; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/1/5
- Report on Overseas Leave by Oscar Werner Tiegs to the University of Melbourne dated 1955-04-27; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/1/4
- Letter from British Council to Oscar Werner Tiegs dated 1953-03-12; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76/1/5
- Item 3 Agenda, Ordinary Meeting of the Royal Society of 1954-04-01; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076
- Letter from Director, Commonwealth Institute of Entomology to Oscar Werner Tiegs dated 1954-03-26; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076/76
- Brochure for series of special lectures, 1,2,3 March 1954; Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Manuscript Collection, MS076
- "The flight muscles of insects - their anatomy and histology; with some observations on the structure of striated muscle in general". Philosophical Transactions 238: 221. 1955. doi:10.1098/rstb.1955.0001.
- "The Tiegs Museum - Background - History". University of Melbourne Department of Zoology. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
- "Origins and meanings of Canberra's suburb and street names". ACT Planning and Land Authority. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- "Street search for: "TIEGS PLACE"". ACT Planning and Land Authority. Retrieved 2008-10-13.[dead link]
- "Kangaroo Point Natural History Project". Brisbane City Council. Retrieved 18 December 2013.