Want a break from the onslaught of bad news? A chance to feel good about the world? Then spend 20 minutes with Tam O’Shaughnessy, the life partner of the late astronaut Sally Ride, as she describes a remarkable friendship that began long before Sally’s historic flights on the Space Shuttle Challenger and later blossomed into a romance that ended with Sally’s death from cancer in 2012. As Executive Director of Sally Ride Science@UC San Diego, Tam continues their mission of encouraging girls to embrace STEM.
Sitting in the pilothouse of the newly commissioned R/V Sally Ride, Tam shares her profound pride in being named the sponsor of the first naval academic research vessel ever named for a woman. Crew on the R/V Sally Ride, operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, will conduct research on the environmental issues she and Sally cared most about – understanding the universe and protecting planet Earth.
Sadly, we learned today that Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, UC San Diego Professor Emeritus, and an advocate for science education, passed away at her home in San Diego. She was 61.
The UC San Diego campus, where Ride became Professor of Physics in 1989, is already relatively quiet this summer break, but the news of Ride’s premature passing due to pancreatic cancer has created a more somber tone. Her loss will obviously also be felt at the San Diego-based company she founded, Sally Ride Science, which provided science education materials and assistance to teachers and schools.
In February 2011, Ride visited UC Berkeley to deliver the UC Berkeley Physics Regent’s Lecture titled “Reach for the Stars with Sally Ride.” In the talk, which aired on UCSD-TV last April, Ride advocates for a stronger foundation of math and science education by describing her own path into the space program. There’s no better way to honor this distinguished woman’s memory than listening to her heartfelt dream that every student — not just future rocket scientists — learn to love math and science.