[Ohio-talk] Lovely article about a Blind scientist
smithj at ohio.edu
Wed May 4 14:44:20 UTC 2016
Thank you so much for sharing these kind of stories with us.
I share many of them with others so keep them coming.
Dr. jw Smith
School of Communication Studies
Scripps College of Communication
Schoonover Center, Rm. 427
Athens, OH 45701
smithj at ohio.edu
From: Ohio-Talk [mailto:ohio-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Deborah Kendrick via Ohio-Talk
Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2016 8:29 AM
To: ohio-talk at nfbnet.org
Cc: Deborah Kendrick <dkkendrick at earthlink.net>; cinci-nfb at nfbnet.org
Subject: [Ohio-talk] Lovely article about a Blind scientist
Good morning all,
I met Amy Bower back in the late 1990s at Ski for Light, and was so delighted to see this lovely article about her.
To be sure you all get to read it, I'm attempting to paste both the link and the text below my signature.
I think my favorite part might well be the surprise that it was a doctor who let her know loss of sight did not equate loss of life!
It's from the Spring 2016 issue of the Tufts University magazine.
Read on and smile!
AMY BOWER WAS DEVASTATED AFTER BEING DECLARED LEGALLY BLIND IN THE 1990S.
THEN SHE DECIDED TO BECOME AN OCEANOGRAPHER ANYWAY
BY SEAN CORCORAN
Some scientists like to follow up on other people's research, going back to
where discoveries were first made to see what else there is to learn. Then
there are scientists like Amy Bower, J81. "I like to explore areas that are
not very well known at all," said Bower, who studies ocean currents that are
6,000 feet deep in the ocean. "The currents I typically focus on are not
even measurable on the sea surface."
Those mysterious, mostly untracked currents are partly responsible for
keeping the earth cool as they transport heat away from the equator. "We're
to understand, where are these currents?" Bower said. "How fast are they
going? How much heat do they hold? Are they changing? And are any of those
associated with atmospheric changes such as air temperature increases?"
Bower is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on
Cape Cod, where her office window reveals an impressive ocean view. But the
soothing vista is mostly lost on her. Bower's retinas can make out only a
crescent-shaped sliver of Nantucket Sound's white-capped waters. She is a
scientist of the sea who has watched her sight slowly slip away. "I still
can see some, and I still have some light perception," she said. "I have a
region of pretty good retina."
Bower first began to notice problems with her vision when she was a Tufts
undergraduate studying physics. A few years later, when she was in graduate
at the University of Rhode Island, she received an official diagnosis of
both macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. The news nearly knocked
off the science track. "I didn't know any blind scientists at all," she
said. "I was devastated at first because I thought that was the end."
It was a Boston-based optometrist who dismissed Bower's concern that she
would have to leave science. Instead, he taught her about technologies to
sight-impaired people. "He showed me some tools," Bower recalled, "and I was
like, 'All right, maybe. Maybe it's possible.'"
Today, Bower manages to do everything other oceanographers do, including
going on research cruises. If you want a good story, ask her about the time
in the Gulf of Aden used rocket-propelled grenade launchers to attack her
research vessel. "They chased us and fired grenades and rifles at us," she
"They didn't hit us, thank God."
Pirates aside, there's no place Bower would rather be than on the water.
When she was at Tufts and still had her vision, she was on the sailing team.
at fifty-five and legally blind, she's sailing again. This past fall, she
won the World Blind Sailing Championship in Chicago.
Bower is also well-known these days for her advocacy and outreach. In 2007,
she started a program with the Perkins School for the Blind called Ocean
which is designed to get blind kids excited about science. "If they don't
ever see a blind scientist, they're never going to think that they can be
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