Flora Sadler lived from 4 June 1912 to 25 December 2000. She was an astronomer and a mathematician. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Flora McBain was born into a poor family in Aberdeen, her mother being a maid and her father a carter. At the age of 18 she began her studies at the University of Aberdeen, gaining a degree in mathematics and physics in 1934. She then gained a research post at the university, conducting research into sources of radioactivity while also lecturing in mathematics.
Membership of an expedition to Siberia to observe a total eclipse of the sun in 1936 sparked an interest in astronomy, and the following year Flora successfully applied for a post at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. She moved with it to Sussex after the Second World War, and continued to work at the Observatory until her retirement in 1973, by which time she was a Principal Scientific Officer. Within the Royal Observatory, Flora worked in the Nautical Almanac Office, where she computed tables used for navigation and astronomy, specifically the motion of the moon and the way it eclipsed stars.
After the war, Flora became the editor of the journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, and also became its secretary. In 1954 she married Donald Sadler, Head of the Nautical Almanac Office. After her husband died in 1987, Flora returned to Aberdeen, where she died in 2000.
This biography draws on research first published in "The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women".