Miriam Burland

(1902-97) DO astronomer and Ottawa Centre member; received the Service Award in 1963.

MIRIAM S. BURLAND (1902-) was a student of A.V. Douglas at McGill University before joining the Astrophysics Division of the Dominion Observatory in 1927 - the first woman astronomer on staff. Her main responsibility was photoelectric photometry of Cepheid variables using the 38 cm refractor until she was transferred to the Seisinology Division during the War. Eventually she returned to astronomy and was a member of the National Committee for Canada of the IAU in the 1960s.

Just when Miriam Burand joined the Ottawa Centre is not known but by 1930 she had become Secretary, a position she occupied until 1933. Then from 1935 until 1941 she was successively Vice-President, President and Honorary President of the Centre. In 1934, Mim (as her friends call her) began to take part in meteor work along with Malcolm Thomson and others in the Ottawa Centre. Encouraged by Peter Millman, she was soon organizing other observers and reducing the data from their observations. It was an interest she maintained for over twenty years.

Miriam Burland's name was well-known to RASC members in connection with two regular features of the Journal. For many years, until her retirement in 1967, she produced regular reports from the Dominion Observatory, and following retirement. until 1977 she wrote "About our Authors" for the Journal. As the Society's "Technical Correspondent" for several years, Miss Burland answered numerous enquiries received at the national office from members and the general public about all aspects of astronomy. Having a sincere interest in others, especially young people, and with her experience as the Public Relations Officer for the DO, she was the ideal person for the job.

The Society presented her with the Service Award in 1963.

Peter Broughton (from Looking Up)

Further Reading

Burland, Miriam S.