Monday, July 23, 2012

Sally Ride

I’m surprised and saddened to read of the passing of astronaut Sally Ride. I dont guess I think of Sally Ride that often on a day-to-day basis, but two years ago (to the week) I was on a cross-country drive for the current project when an interview with Dr. Ride came on the radio, and I remember how impressed I was, learning a little more about her, and hearing what she has been up to, as I wound my way across Nevada. Over the course of the interview she talked about how inspired she was as a girl by the space race and the moon landings and Neil Armstrong. I loved how gender-neutral the appeal of those flights was for her and her young classmates, something I’ve been glad to see for myself in kids when talking about Moonshot during school visits. But Dr. Ride also talked in the interview about the trouble that begins in middle school when it comes to science and math education, for both boys and girls, but especially for girls, and her efforts on that front were impressive and inspiring, too. It would have been one part appreciation and one part self-promotion, but my intention was to send her a copy of Moonshot as soon as I got back home, something I never got around to doing. A rough idea of the date of that interview, plus the internet, makes it uncannily easy to find that conversation, though. It was on the Diane Rehm show (but with a guest host; I would have remembered Diane Rehm’s voice) and you can hear it online, here. It’s a worthwhile listen.  The Apollo bits come early, scattered through the first fifteen minutes. And children’s book types might be amused and heartened to hear Mrs. Frizzle get a nod. Sally Ride’s obituary at the Times, here, is well worth the read, too. At one point Billie Jean King urged her to drop out of college to pursue tennis professionally. Who knew? Rest in peace, Sally Ride.

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