Isobel Moira Dunbar

Isobel Moira Dunbar, public servant, ice research scientist (b at Edinburgh, Scot 3 Feb 1918; d at Ottawa, 22 Nov 1999). In 1947 Moira Dunbar, an Oxford graduate, immigrated to Canada after 7 years in professional theatre. She joined the Arctic Section of the Defence Research Board at a period when scientific work in the North was opening up. Collaborating with K.R. Greenaway, she produced the standard work Arctic Canada from the Air (1956), which led to her interest in arctic exploration. She later specialized in sea-ice research, particularly the climatological aspects, and was the first woman to be taken on summer cruises in Canadian government icebreakers. Observations on these cruises and on reconnaissance flights over the arctic islands led to analytical studies of ice conditions and work on the standardization of ice terminology.

She was active in evaluating remote sensors for collecting ice data and pioneered sideways-looking radar for airborne reconnaissance. She also visited the USSR and Finland in 1964 to look into icebreaking practices, worked as ice adviser on the hovercraft trials 1966-69, and observed the cruise of the Manhattan in 1969 to test supertankers in ice. Author of many scientific articles, she is a Member of the Order of Canada, a fellow of the RSC, and has received the Massey Medal in 1972.