Isabel Hanson Tipton, physicist, was born in Monroe, Georgia, June 17, 1909. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Georgia in 1929 and graduate degrees with majors in physics and minors in chemistry from the University of Georgia (M.S., 1930) and Duke University (Ph.D., 1934). She became one of the few women in the United States qualified to teach physics. Tipton was head of the Science Department at Cox College in Georgia and taught at Ohio State University and the University of Alabama before joining the University of Tennessee Department of Physics in 1948. Tipton was widely acclaimed for her research in Raman Spectroscopy and trace metal content in human tissue, which was used to determine safe levels of radioactivity in the body. Her research garnered more than five hundred thousand dollars in federal grant funding, and from it she published over thirty-five professional papers. She was a consultant to the Health Physics Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a position she held from 1950 until her retirement in 1972.
Tipton was a member of the Tennessee Academy of Science, serving as its secretary from 1953 to 1955 and its president in 1956-57. She was also vice-president and president (1960) of the Southeastern Section of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy. Tipton retired from UT in 1972 and moved to Long Beach, North Carolina, to devote more time to her avocation, ornithology. She died there in 1980.