Ruby Payne-Scott (1912 - 1981)


She worked for the Australian government's Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation in Sydney where she made fundamental contributions to solar radio astronomy.

During World War II she was engaged in top secret work investigating radar.

She married secretly since the Commonwealth government had legislated that a married woman could not hold a permanent position within the public service, and she continued to work until her first pregnancy raised suspicion. She was obliged to resign when her marriage was exposed. Her treatment by CSIRO resulted in some years of written exchanges, expressing the unfairness of this legislation. However, she never changed her name even after the marriage became public.

Ruby was an Australian radio astronomer, believed to have been the first female radio astronomer. She won two scholarships for schooling at the University of Sydney, where she completed a BSc in 1933, an MSc in 1936, and a Diploma of Education in 1938. She was the only female in her classes.