Midpoint Series: When Doodles Get It Right – Women Honored Around the Globe in 2012

This Speaking Up post is part of the 2012 Midpoint Series. See all of the posts in the series here.

In March, Speaking Up celebrated International Women’s Day by taking a look at the women around the world who had been honored with Doodles in 2012. As part of the Midpoint Series, I wanted to update this to include all the women who have had Doodles since March. Unfortunately, there haven’t been any such Doodles shown in the United States, and only two additional women have been recognized with a Doodle elsewhere in the world — both in Australia, incidentally. Let’s learn more about these two outstanding women!

  • On April 22nd, Australian Google users woke up to this Doodle honoring the 120th birthday of Grace Cossington Smith.
    Grace Cossington Smith

    Grace Cossington Smith photographed outside her home in 1915 (author unknown).

    Smith was a modernist painter known as one of Australia’s most important artists. Her work is characterized by small, square brush strokes of bright color, giving a sense of vibrancy, luminosity and energy to her images. Smith’s typically focused on subjects and objects related to everyday life in and about Sydney, such as The Bridge in Curve which explores the Sydney Harbour Bridge during its construction. Because of her contribution to Australian arts and culture, Grace Cossington Smith was named Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

  • This next one is near and dear to my heart, as a former radio astronomer: the May 28th Australian Doodle recognized pioneering radio astronomer Ruby Payne-Scotton the 100th anniversary of her birth. She played a key role in the development of radio astronomy and Australian physics; her work focused on radio bursts from the Sun.
    Ruby Payne-Scott

    Ruby Payne-Scott photographed in 1952 by Jessica Chapman.

    Payne-Scott worked for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) but at the time, the Australian Commonwealth government would not allow a married woman to maintain a position in the civil service. Payne-Scott was thus forced to keep her engagement and eventual marriage a secret for five years, after which point she lost her position. She was granted a salary without an official position for several more years, before leaving radio astronomy.

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