Making Waves: The Story of Ruby Payne-Scott: Australian Pioneer Radio Astronomer (Astronomers' Universe)
This book is an abbreviated, partly re-written version of "Under the Radar - The First Woman in Radio Astronomy: Ruby Payne-Scott." It addresses a general readership interested in historical and sociological aspects of astronomy and presents the biography of Ruby Payne-Scott (1912 – 1981). As the first female radio astronomer (and one of the first people in the world to consider radio astronomy), she made classic contributions to solar radio physics.
She also played a major role in the design of the Australian government's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research radars, which were in turn of vital importance in the Southwest Pacific Theatre in World War II. These radars were used by military personnel from Australia, the United States and New Zealand. From a sociological perspective, her career offers many examples of the perils of being a female academic in the first half of the 20th century.
Written in an engaging style and complemented by many historical photographs, this book offers fascinating insights into the beginnings of radio astronomy and the role of a pioneering woman in astronomy. To set the scene, the first colourfully illustrated chapter presents an overview of solar astrophysics and the tools of the radio astronomer.
From the reviews of “Under the Radar”:
“This is a beautifully-researched, copiously-illustrated and well-written book that tells us much more than the life of one amazing female radio astronomer. It also provides a profile on radar developments during WWII and on Australia’s pre-eminent place in solar radio astronomy in the years following WWII. Under the Radar is compelling reading, and if you have taken the time to read right through this review then it certainly belongs on your bookshelf!” (Wayne Orchiston, Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, March, 2010)
developing a cure for cancer. In 1892, Hubert was also listed as providing services once a week to the newly-formed Homeopathic Dispensary in Sydney.8 Against this background of success, the events which followed are hard to understand. They may have been due to family friction or to a wish on Hubert’s part to further his career. By 1903, the family was split apart by thousands of miles. Hubert left the family and returned to London from Sydney; he had been in Australia for 16 years.9 Back in
efficiency is therefore 10−19 and it is a great tribute to the pioneers of radar that they persisted in their efforts to attain apparently impossible ends.” Note that this footnote in Under the Radar had an incorrect exponent of +14 for the received signal. 23In early 1941, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) had called a meeting of all Federal Unions with women members for a discussion of policy on the role of women in Australian industry. After adopting a resolution proposing that
two major players (along with the United Kingdom) in the post-war development of radio astronomy. As Sullivan (1988, 2009) has pointed out, only in certain fields of medical science did the international reputation of Australian scientists rival that of their fellow Australian radio astronomers. As both Sullivan (1988, 2009) and Wild (1968) have emphasised, the fact that the Australian radio astronomers had the Southern sky to themselves played only a minor (but not negligible) role; the
and January. The solar and cosmic noise section planned to concentrate on equipment development in the interim. Ground-Breaking Developments in Solar Noise Research and Techniques of Interferometry: February 1946, Dover Heights After the October 1945 campaign was complete and the Nature paper submitted at the end of the month, the daily monitoring at the Collaroy site with the COL antenna continued up until 15 February 1946. The air force controlled the Collaroy site and due to high level of
entire process of permanently appointing Payne-Scott and eighteen other RPL employees was begun in July 1946, and yet Ruby does not show up for her medical exam until September, with the subsequent eye exam in October. What is more, the recorded observations in (Fig. 8.1) only go until August 12, 1946, even though the sunspot activity may have continued through September 1946.8 What does this mean? The observations ended abruptly in mid-August; her medical exam was delayed until September.