Person: Moir, Margaret Barr
Margaret Barr Moir was a Scottish mathematical physicist who became a lecturer in mathematics at the University of Western Australia in Perth. She may be the first woman appointed as a university lecturer in mathematics in Australia. She lost her job after the University had to make substantial cut-backs following the Great Depression.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Mary Moir was born on 19 May 1891.
- Margaret Moir studied at the Glasgow High School for Girls.
- In 1883, the Association was incorporated under the Companies Act as Queen Margaret College, for the education exclusively of women.
- Moir studied at Queen Margaret College for two years, 1902-04, where she was awarded distinction in mathematics and sciences.
- For most of the women studying at Queen Margaret College, they were looking to be teachers.
- Moir, however, had higher aims and in 1904 she began studying for an M.A. at the University of Glasgow.
- Around 1900, however, it was quite typical for a student to study first for an M.A. and then, after graduating, take specialist science subjects for a B.Sc. This is what Moir did, graduating with an M.A. (Class I) in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in 1907 and then a B.Sc. (Dist) with special distinction in mathematics, physics and astronomy in 1909.
- After these two degrees, in 1909 Moir began undertaking research supervised by Andrew Gray and supported by Carnegie Research Scholarships.
- During the whole of that time she has been engaged in an investigation of the properties of magnetic materials under varying conditions of temperature and strain on which Miss Moir was engaged during the first two years of her tenure of a Fellowship was given in the Report for the quinquennial period 1908-13.
- Miss Moir devoted herself with unremitting zeal and conspicuous success to the study of this question during the whole period of five years for which she was a beneficiary of the Trust.
- For example, in 1914 Dr Margaret Moir, research fellow at the University of Glasgow, published a piece on tungsten and chromium magnets that was primarily a response to Thompson's work, simply commenting in passing that her work refined that of "Mdme (sic) Curie" by noting that the optimum proportion of chromium for permanence depended on a magnet's length to breadth ratio (Moir, 1914-15, 385-86).
- After completing her D.Sc., Moir was appointed as a teacher at Manchester High School for Girls.
- Moir was appointed as a temporary lecturer and an assistant to A D Ross at the University of Western Australia in 1925.
- On 13 February 1925, Moir departed from London, England, on the ship Mongolia of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company bound for Fremantle, Australia.
- Moir requested leave of absence to research the teaching of mathematics in the USA and Britain, and to attend the Seville conference as a representative of the University of Western Australia.
- The Mathematics staff consisted of a professor, Charles E Weatherburn, two lecturers R D Thompson and Margaret Moir, an Assistant lecturer A A Orton and a demonstrator W D Everson.
- Although we are not certain of this, we believe that Moir became Australia's first female lecturer in mathematics.
- In December 1931 Moir lost her position as a result of a lack of funds due to the 20% cut.
- Moir was living Godstone, Surrey, England and records of the time give her occupation as University Lecturer Retired, and ARP Warden unpaid.
Born 7 July 1883, Cairneyhill, Fife, Scotland. Died 25 March 1975, South Croydon, London, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Scotland, Women
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive