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Happy Century Ruby
May 28, 2012 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Have you looked at the sky today? You probably should. She would have been a hundred today, she just might have had a bit to do with how we understand our universe.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan (15 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey and she was briefly a librarian. What an interesting tale of intrigue and old school discrimination in addition to her remarkable achievements.
posted by jessamyn at 7:48 AM on May 28, 2012


Thanks for this. I had never heard of the lady, which is a shame for me, considering how interested I've always been in science and in women's studies.

When I saw the post, I thought it might have been about Annie Jump Cannon, who also helped build our understanding of the structure of the universe (in addition to having one of the most awesome names in science). But she was born well over a hundred years ago.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:49 AM on May 28, 2012


WTF?
Ruby Payne-Scott and William ("Bill") Holman Hall secretly married in 1944; at this time, the Commonwealth government had legislated that a married woman could not hold a permanent position within the public service.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:53 AM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sad what they did to her...
posted by sfts2 at 7:55 AM on May 28, 2012




I should point out that someone at Goggle Australia already had this, and they have my thanks. And my respect.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 8:17 AM on May 28, 2012


And still hoping some astronomers can come tell us the full story.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 8:37 AM on May 28, 2012


I had no idea. She really put up with a lot of chauvanistic BS! Thanks for posting. I wouldn't have gone up a ladder in a skirt either. Ridiculous indeed.
posted by yoga at 9:18 AM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great post, thank you.
posted by Lynsey at 10:24 AM on May 28, 2012


Miller Goss co-wrote her biography, the cleverly titled "Under the Radar". I saw some of his files while he was working on it - the old photographs were priceless!

One of her papers (“Solar radiation at radio frequencies and its relation to sunspots,” Procedures of the Royal Society, 1947, McCready, Pawsey and Payne-Scott) was the first to mention the Fourier synthesis principle in the context of radio astronomy. Here's the quote I found: "It is possible in principle to determine the actual form of the distribution in a complex case by Fourier synthesis by using information derived from a large number of components." That principle enables radio interferometric observations with the VLA, the ATCA, and maybe some day the SKA...
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:51 AM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, she's a bit loud and we don't think she's quite what we want and she may be a bit unstable, but we'll let her continue and see how she works out.

I love this, and love Ruby!
posted by figment of my conation at 1:18 PM on May 28, 2012


WTF?

Ruby Payne-Scott and William ("Bill") Holman Hall secretly married in 1944; at this time, the Commonwealth government had legislated that a married woman could not hold a permanent position within the public service.

posted by benito.strauss


WTF indeed. And that didn't change until the late 60's, I think.


Now I've got that off my chest, I'll have a little rant about something else Australia and science related, which may suggest that we haven't moved very far forward since Ruby's time.

My 13 year old daughter is a science freak. Has been since before she could even spell the word science. She is in high school, year 8, and is now choosing elective subjects. She has a shitload of childcare and arts/crafts courses to choose from... and exactly one science course is offered. Her science teacher told her last week that she should pursue science as a career but he worries that the education system won't give her enough of a foundation to make the most of her abilities.

Nice work, Dept of Education. Way to ensure that Australia can produce and nurture kick-arse scientists like Ruby. Not.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 1:18 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


We moved to get access to a school with sciences for my son. Where he was last year they offered only general science, and could only let him do physics of chem if he was in some kind of extra external class, held at the school, but costing us extra, and requiring him to go to school at some silly hour in the morning. They only run what they have demand for, and one or two kids, is, I guess, not enough.
posted by thylacinthine at 2:09 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Physics OR chem, that is. I need more tea.
posted by thylacinthine at 2:22 PM on May 28, 2012


The APS ban on married women lasted until 1966, according to Wikipedia we were the last democratic country to maintain such a ban. Thanks Menzies! Particularly sad since we were so progressive in extending the franchise.
posted by wilful at 6:41 PM on May 28, 2012


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