Maria Ludwika Ziff
Who am I?
Maria Ludwika Ziff was an electrical engineer. Born in Vienna of Ukrainian parents who were working in Lvov, Maria left in 1938 to study electrical engineering at the University of Edinburgh, the professor having believed her application was from a Polish man. Her family refused to join her and she never saw any of them again. She married Thomas (Tom) Brown Watkins, a fellow engineering student, when he returned from the war and they lived in Sydenham. They had two sons. Away from work her interests were English history, astronomy and skiing. She joined the Women’s Engineering Society as soon as she arrived in the UK and took an active part in its work with schoolgirls. She was WES President in 1980-81. © Nina Baker
I am monumental because...
Maria obtained a degree in Electrical Engineering (Communications) at the University of Edinburgh in 1941. She then became a technical assistant at Johnson and Phillips Ltd, who made cabling and navigation items for aircraft, working on technical problems of their distribution systems. She also did research for the PLUTO Pipeline Under The Ocean project and for a new secret airplane guidance system in between air raid warden duties. In 1947 she was appointed a lecturer at South East London Technical College and in 1959 a Lecturer, later a Senior Lecturer at Northampton College of Advanced Technology, now the City University, and also a visiting professor Worcester Polytechnic Insitute, Boston, USA. She did research in medical electronics and published about 13 papers on these subjects. Maria was a member of Council and Senate of City Universit for three years and a member of Council and the Qualification board of the Institue of Electrical Engineering from 1976 to 1979. She became a freeman of the City of London and member and senior steward of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. © Nina Baker