Marion Ross lived from 9 April 1903 to 3 January 1994. She was a physicist who specialised in acoustics and fluid dynamics. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Marion Amelia Spence Ross was born in Edinburgh, the daughter of William Ross, a musician, and Marion Thomson. She studied mathematics and physics at the University of Edinburgh. She then trained to become a teacher and spent two years teaching in England, before gaining a post as a Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in the Departments of Physics and Music. Her first step was to develop a new course in acoustics, which continues to be taught by the university today.
During the Summer vacations she undertook research on X-ray diffraction in Manchester with Sir Lawrence Bragg, the Australian physicist who had won a Nobel Prize in 1915. She was later awarded her PhD while working at the University of Edinburgh with another Nobel Laureat, Charles Glover Barkla. Marion's early published work looked at the structure of crystals and the pioneering work she did remains relevant today.
During the Second World War, Marion Ross worked for the Admiralty at the Naval Dockyards at Rosyth, undertaking research into underwater acoustics and hydrodynamics. After the war she returned to the University of Edinburgh, where she established a laboratory undertaking research into aspects of high energy physics. In 1965 she became Director of a laboratory exploring fluid dynamics and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Marion Ross died in Dunfermline in 1994.
This biography draws on research first published in "The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women".