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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Jul 28, 2021, 05:28 PM

17. Similar story for Australian radio astronomy pioneer Ruby Payne-Scott

Along with Joseph Pawsey, she carried out the first radio astronomy experiment in the southern hemisphere at Sydney University, in 1944. [2] The following year she conducted pioneering solar radio astronomy observations at Dover Heights, near Bondi. Between 1945-47, Ruby helped discover three of five categories of solar bursts originating in the solar corona. She played a leading role in the design, construction, and use of a ‘swept lobe’ interferometer which enabled rapid imaging of the sun. Her most significant contribution was the development of the Fourier synthesis technique, giving radio astronomers a clearer understanding of space wave shape and frequency. Her method is still widely used today. [3]

Ruby married Bill Hall in 1944. Knowing she would legally be required to retire from the CSIRO, she kept their union hidden until 1950. When discovered, Ruby lost her permanent position and all her pension rights. She retired the following year at 39, pregnant with the first of two children. There was no such thing as maternity leave.


Women were not allowed to work for the Australian government if they were married. She tried to get around this by keeping her marriage secret, but when finally caught she was forced to resign and had to relinquish her pension accumulated for the time she was married. This ended a very promising career in radio astronomy.

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