Papers of atmospheric physicist Dr Jean Laby now available

The papers of atmospheric physicist Dr Jean Laby (1915–2008) are now available for researchers to access at the University of Melbourne Archives.

A highly significant collection for its documentation of atmospheric research and the role of women in science, the collection was donated to the University in 2016. Items from the collection will also feature in an upcoming display at the University of Melbourne’s Ed Muirhead Physics Museum.

Born in Melbourne in 1915, Laby received a BSc in 1939, an MSc in 1951 and a PhD in 1959, all from the University of Melbourne. She was first employed by the University in 1940 to work in the Department of Natural Philosophy, later named the Physics Department. Appointed to the position of lecturer in 1959, Laby concurrently held a position as senior lecturer at the RAAF Academy at Point Cook, Victoria. Her research interests included cosmic radiation, wind studies, radar meteorology and data collection using balloon-borne cameras. From 1972 to 1980, Laby was involved in the Climatic Impact Assessment Program inn collaboration with the University of Wyoming, measuring atmospheric aerosols, ozone and water vapour in the stratosphere.

Image: Dr Jean Laby, 1960. University of Melbourne Archives