Arthur John Higgs was one of the four original staff physicists at the Commonwealth Solar Observatory (CSO) when it was first established in 1924 under the directorship of W.G. Duffield. (W.B. Rimmer, A.R. Hogg and C.W. Allen were the other three physicists.) Higgs was an ionospheric physicist and studied radio propagation and the properties of the ionospheric layers.
Higgs travelled to South Africa with Allen in June 1940 to observe a total solar eclipse. Both he and Allen were restless while waiting for the eclipse to happen; the Second World War was getting into full swing and they hoped that there would be war work for them when they returned to Australia. Higgs wrote to R. v.d.R. Woolley:
'When I come back I shall be champing at the bit to jump into something useful as soon as possible.(1)
He was relieved to hear back from Woolley, who informed him that the CSO would be 'going into questions of the design of optical instruments for war purposes'.(2)
On his return to Australia in November 1940, Higgs moved to the CSIR/O Department of Radiophysics, and continued to work there for the remainder of his working life.
(1) A.J. Higgs to R. v.d.R. Woolley, 28 July 1940, Australian Archives, A 9103, Item 4
(2) R. v.d.R. Woolley to A.J. Higgs, 17 July 1940, Australian Archives, A 9103, Item 4.