Making Waves pp 87-101 | Cite as

1944–1945: Ruby Payne-Scott – The First Woman Radio Astronomer

  • W. M. Goss
Part of the Astronomers' Universe book series (ASTRONOM)


Ruby Payne-Scott’s career as a radio astronomer began in 1944 and extended to her retirement in July 1951. Her remarkable career, which led to many of the early discoveries in solar radio astronomy, can be roughly divided into four phases. The early phase began in March 1944 and extended to late 1945, a period of transition from wartime radar research to early solar noise research. In this period Payne-Scott, under the leadership of J. L. Pawsey, along with others, was laying the groundwork for the beginnings of solar radio astronomy. The following period from October 1945 to late 1947 marked the groundbreaking solar work at Dover Heights and the publication of their first important research papers on solar physics. Her contributions to Fourier radio astronomy imaging were crucial at this stage. In 1948, Payne-Scott had an interlude working on her own at the Hornsby field station; the detailed properties of Type III bursts were elucidated in this period. Starting in 1949, up to the end of her career at RPL in July 1951, she was mainly involved in the building and use of the high resolution swept-lobe interferometer at Potts Hill Reservoir in Sydney, a collaboration with Alec Little. There was a brief coda in August 1952 during the URSI International Assembly in Sydney. In this chapter we will study the work Ruby did as a proto-radio astronomer in 1944 and 1945.


Galactic Centre Galactic Plane Radio Astronomy Solar Observation Summary Paper 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. M. Goss
    • 1
  1. 1.National Radio Astronomy ObservatorySocorroUSA

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