She worked on solar observations in the early history of the field with Joe Pawsey, A.G. Little, L.L. McCready and D. E. Yabsley, and J. Bolton.
Ruby Violet Payne-Scott was born in 1912 in Grafton, New South Wales. In 1933 she received a
Bachelors of Science first class, with honors in math and physics, from Sydney University.
She received a scholarship and obtained her teaching certification. In 1936 she finished a Masters in Physics (Ph.D.’s were not offered at Australian universities at the time). She was only the fourth or fifth woman in Australia to get an advanced degree in physics.
Her career arguably reached its zenith while working for the Australian government’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (then called CSIR, now known as CSIRO) at Dover Heights, Hornsby and especially Potts Hill in Sydney, Australia. Some of her fundamental contributions to solar radio astronomy came at the end of this period. She is the discoverer of Type I and Type III bursts and participated in the recognition of Type II and IV bursts.
Payne-Scott played a major role in the first-ever radio astronomical interferometer observation from 26 January 1946, when the sea-cliff interferometer was used to determine the position and angular size of a solar burst. This observation occurred at either Dover Heights (ex Army shore defense radar) or at Beacon Hill, near Collaroy on Sydney’s north shore (ex Royal Australian Air Force surveillance radar establishment – however this radar did not become active until early 1950).
During World War II, she was engaged in top secret work investigating radar. She was the expert on the detection of aircraft using PPI (Plan Position Indicator) displays. She was also at the time a member of the Communist Party and an early advocate for women’s rights.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) was interested in Paine-Scott and had a substantial file on her activities, with some distortions.