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'Making Waves'

The story of Ruby Payne-Scott: Australian Pioneer Radio Astronomer


In "Making Waves," Miller Goss provides insight into the pioneering contributions of a female scientist at the beginning of radio astronomy, Ruby Payne-Scott (1912 - 1981). With this fascinating biography, Goss addresses a general readership interested in historical and sociological aspects of astronomy.

As the first female radio astronomer (and one of the first people in the world to consider radio astronomy), Payne-Scott 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 colourfully illustrated first chapter presents an overview of solar astrophysics and the tools of the radio astronomer. This book is an abbreviated, partly re-written version of "Under the Radar - The First Woman in Radio Astronomy: Ruby Payne-Scott," also by Miller Goss.

Miller Goss received his undergraduate degree in astronomy from Harvard in 1963 and a PhD from the University of California (Berkeley) in 1967, working on the newly discovered OH radio frequency line at the Hat Creek Observatory. He then moved to Australia to the CSIRO Division of Radiophysics, first as a postdoctoral fellow and later as a staff member. In 1976 he was the recipient of the Pawsey Medal of the Australian Academy of Science. From 1977 to 1986 he was on the staff of the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and then professor from 1980 to 1986. In 1986 he moved to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Socorro New Mexico (USA). He was Director of the Very Large Array and the Very Long Baseline Array from 1988 to 2002. Goss' scientific interests are radio astronomical studies of the interstellar medium in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Goss is currently on the scientific staff of NRAO and is the author of over 500 astronomical publications.


Miller Goss
"Making Waves"
The Story of Ruby Payne-Scott: Australian Pioneer Radio Astronomer
2013, XX, 262 p. 87 illus., 27 illus. in color.
Softcover €39,99 | £35.99 | $39.95
ISBN 978-3-642-35751-0
Also available as an eBook.

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