[Ohio-talk] Lovely article about a Blind scientist

Christopher Sabine, ONH Consulting info at onhconsulting.com
Wed May 4 15:21:00 UTC 2016


Deborah. Will post this to our Chapter FB Page.

Thanks for sharing.

Chris

-----Original Message-----
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; 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!
Deborah
http://emerald.tufts.edu/alumni/magazine/spring2016/discover/seaing-is-belie
ving.html
> 


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
trying
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
changes
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
blind
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
small
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
school
at the University of Rhode Island, she received an official diagnosis of
both macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. The news nearly knocked
her
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
help
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
pirates
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
said.
"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.
Now,
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
Insight,
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
one,"
she said.  

 C 2016

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