Making Waves: The Story of Ruby Payne-Scott: Australian Pioneer Radio Astronomer (Astronomers' Universe)

Making Waves: The Story of Ruby Payne-Scott: Australian Pioneer Radio Astronomer (Astronomers' Universe)

Language: English

Pages: 262

ISBN: B00E3C1VP4

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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)

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end. She had remarkable success, since she began her career as a radio astronomer, starting in March 1944. Her contributions to the discovery of Type I, II and IV bursts and the key role she played in elucidating the properties of Type III bursts, especially the seconds of time delays, remains an impressive achievement. Finally, she provided the first evidence for the direct determination of the motions of solar outbursts based on the swept-lobe observations of 1949–1951. She was also one of the

amusing event at the farewell. Pawsey made reference to the upcoming birth of her baby (Peter Hall was born exactly 4 months later on 20 November 1951). Pawsey began his summary of Payne-Scott’s achievements at RPL: “Miss Ruby Payne-Scott…” and realised that this name was hardly appropriate for someone 5 months pregnant and hastily corrected himself to: “I mean… [long hesitation]…Mrs. Ruby Hall…” Thus the reason that Ruby resigned in 1951 was not a direct result of the controversy from the

at home as Bill looked after the cooking. While Ruby was in hospital, Bill would even bring home a store-bought pie or cake on the way from work, something Payne-Scott would never do. When Peter’s mother returned from hospital, he noticed the quality of the cuisine deteriorated again. Poor cooking skills aside, Ruby Payne-Scott was clearly an inspiring force in her son’s life. Peter had initially planned to study physics at university:… when I finished [Sydney Technical High School], I was

Galaxy. A prominent feature is the spiral structure in the ionised gas; this is associated with a gaseous nebula Sgr A West. The total field size is 25 arcsec, about 1 parsec or 3 light years (Zhao et al. 2009; Associated Universities, Inc). (c) VLA images of the sun from 11 April 1999. Left is 1.4 GHz (21 cm) and the right is 4.6 GHz (6.5 cm), with angular resolutions of 30 and 12 arcsec respectively. The field of view is about 30 arcmin. A number of active regions are shown at a time close to

paper are taken from “Solar and Cosmic Radio Frequency Radiation; Survey of Knowledge Available and Measurements taken at Radiophysics Laboratory to December 1, 1945” by R. Payne-Scott. SRP 501/27, unpublished manuscript from CSIRO Division of Radiophysics archive, Payne-Scott 1945c. 5There has been some criticism by astronomy colleagues of the headphones worn by the Ruby Payne-Scott figure in the 28 May 2012 Google Doodle celebrating her 100th birthday (see Fig. 1.4). It is encouraging to see

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