Some Important Contributions
Comparison of the structures of ordinary and `heavy' ice.
With J.D. Bernal, published an early, and now classic, study of hydrogen bonding in metal hydroxides.
First determination of the crystal structure of barium titanate, BaTiO3 -
one of the most important ferroelectrics used widely in industry for its dielectric properties.
Discovered complexities in feldspar structures, and distinguished between unit cell and lattice disorders.
Impact on ferroelectricity theory through her research on titanates and perovskites.
"Helen's impact on ferroelectricity was profound, especially in the early days. She brought to the subject a visual aspect embodied in the crystal structures of ferroelectrics, thus showing how this important effect arose.
Her book, Ferroelectricity in Crystals, the first book on the
subject, was for a long time just about the only book on the subject and became almost a "bible" for those working in ferroelectricity." ---- Professor A.
Michael Glazer, University of Oxford.
Some Important Publications
"Cell Dimensions of Ordinary and `Heavy' Ice," Nature 134: 900 (1934).
"The Function of Hydrogen in Intermolecular Forces," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A151: 384 (1935), with J.D. Bernal.
"Crystal Structure of Barium Titanate," Nature 155: 484 (1945).
"Origin of Ferroelectricity in Barium Titanate and Other Perovskite-type Crystals," Acta Crystallographica 5: 739 (1952).
"Notation for Felspar Structures," Acta Crystallographica 9: 56 (1956).
"Order and Disorder. I. Theory of Stacking Faults and Diffraction Maxima," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A259: 59 (1959).
"Order and Disorder. II. Theory of Diffraction Effects in the Intermediate Plagioclase Feldspars," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A259: 184 (1959).
"Structures and Transitions in Perovskites," J. de Physique 33 (Proceedings of Conference at Dijon): C2-1 (1972).
"Studies of the Lattice Parameters and Domains in the Phase Transitions of NaNbO3," Acta Crystallographica A29: 489 (1973), with A.M. Glazer.
"The Architecture of Felspars," and "Tilts and Tetrahedra in Felspars," in MacKenzie & Zussman (eds.), Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Study Institute on Felspars. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1974.
"Geometrical and Structural Relations in the Rhombodedral Perovkites," Acta Crystallographica A31: 161 (1975).
Ferroelectricity in Crystals. Methuen, London 1957.
Crystallographic Book List. International Union of Crystallography Commission, Utrecht 1965 (and 2 supplements (1966) (1972)).
Crystal Structures: A Working Approach. W.B. Saunders Co.,
Of historical interest:
"The Domain of Crystallography," in J. Lima de Faria (ed.), Historical Atlas of Crystallography. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht 1990.
"This is a survey explaining the relationship of Crystallography to Physics and to Chemistry--not of great interest in itself, but perhaps useful to physicists looking back at historical developments." --- Helen D. Megaw
Honorary Doctor of Science, University of Cambridge 1967
Honorary Doctor of Science, Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland 2000
Fellow, Mineralogical Society of America
Fellow, Institute of Physics
Roebling Medal, Mineralogical Society of America 1989 [Megaw was the first woman to receive this medal.]
The name Helen D. Megaw Island was given to an island in the Antartica, located at about 66.9° S, 67.7° W. This honor was bestowed when the Glaciological Society was naming features in that neighborhood after scientists who had done some original work on ice. [See Ice 9: 10-11, 16 (1962).]
1934-35 Post-doctoral research with Prof. H. Mark, University of Vienna
1935-36 Post-doctoral research with Prof. F. Simon, Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University
1936-43 Assistant Mistress at (1) Bedford High School and (2) Bradford Girls' Grammar School
1943-45 Crystallographic scientist, Materials Research Laboratory, Philips Lamps Ltd., Mitcham
1945-46 Assistant Director of Research in Crystallography, Birkbeck College, London
1946-49 Assistant for Experimental Research in Crystallography,
Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge
1946-72 Fellow, Lecturer, and Director of Studies in Physical Science, Girton College, Cambridge
1949-59 Assistant Director of Research in Crystallography, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge
1959-72 Lecturer, Cambridge University
1968-present Life Fellow, Girton College, Cambridge
Councilor, Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 1971-74.
Queen's University, Belfast 1925-26
B.S. Girton College, Cambridge 1930
Ph.D. (mineralogy and petrology) University of Cambridge 1934
"Helen was a formidable person, as well as being very nice and scrupulously honest as a scientist. She was talented in some rather interesting ways. She was the only person I have met who could imagine a crystal structure in her mind and turn it around, and then draw it out for you on a piece of paper from any direction you cared to choose!"
--- Professor Michael Glazer, Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford.
Kathleen Lonsdale and
Dorothy Hodgkin ,
Helen Megaw is one of the grand old school of British women crystallographers who serve
as role models for many of us - men and women alike."
--- Professor Robert Newnham, Pennsylvania State University [hm1990rn]
"Much has been said about the difficulties of women in science, but I would like
to say explicitly that I at least was never or rarely aware of discrimination.
Perhaps I was particularly lucky, in that everyone who advised me on my education and guided my career assumed that women should be given the
same opportunities as men. First and foremost I am thankful to my parent
for this, and then to those far-sighted women of earlier generations who
founded Girton College as a college for women, within Cambridge University and
an integral part of it."
---Helen Megaw, on accepting the Roebling Medal of the Mineralogical Society of
America for 1989. [am1990hm]
British Crystallographic Association
December 2000 notice
A. Michael Glazer/Martha Keyes
Helen Megaw & Professor A. Michael Glazer, University of Oxford
Field Editor: Professor A. Michael Glazer, University of Oxford