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.
UCTV Launches YouTube’s First University-Run Original Channel
It’s official! UCSD-based UCTV has made history with today’s launch of UCTV Prime, YouTube’s first university-run original channel. Each week, UCTV Prime presents 15 minutes of fresh content — ranging from in-depth documentary mini-series to election analysis, commentary and reports on the latest research developments from throughout the UC system. New programs are uploaded Tuesdays and Fridays at www.youtube.com/uctvprime, with bonus material, blog posts and more available at the UCTV Prime website. Make sure to subscribe to UCTV Prime today and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for upcoming interactive features.
UCTV Prime makes its YouTube debut with “Naked Art,” a four-part mini-series exploring the preeminent art collections at UC San Diego, UCLA and UC San Francisco. The premiere episode explores UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection, a unique collection of site-specific works by leading artists of our time, including Do Ho Suh, whose latest piece, “Fallen Star,” features a small house that’s been picked up by a mysterious force and “landed” on a building, seven stories up.
Also coming soon, UCTV Prime: Vote, a recurring, 5-minute series offering election analysis and commentary by UC faculty and experts (premieres March 13), and UCTV Prime: Cuts, another regular 5-minute segment reporting on research developments, entertaining events and interesting personalities on the campuses and beyond (debuts March 6). Stay tuned in April for our next mini-series, “The Skinny on Obesity,” examining the obesity epidemic and how UC San Francisco researchers are working to combat it.
The Upright Ape
Why are we the only two-legged creature to develop an exclusively upright gait? And what did it mean to the development of the human species? In this new three-part series, the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) at UC San Diego brings you foremost experts to explore the many facets of these questions in this fascinating series.
Congratulations to health producer Jennifer Ford, whose documentary “Parkinson’s Disease: A Dose of Hope,” took home its second award of the season, and to our entire UCSD-TV production team who contributed to the April 2011 installment of “UCSD@50,” UCSD-TV’s year-long series honoring UC San Diego’s momentous 50th anniversary. The award-winning episode was hosted by Barbara Sawrey, Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education, and featured stories on the new field of translational biology, UCSD’s Stuart Collection, profiles of three graduate students and their roles in driving UCSD’s research agenda, and the men’s baseball coach.
No, there wasn’t a tornado throwing houses around La Jolla earlier this week. The airborne cottage spotted on the UC San Diego campus was actually the much-anticipated installation of artist Do Ho Suh’s “Fallen Star,” the latest addition to UCSD’s acclaimed Stuart Collection.
For our latest installment of “Health Matters,” premiering tonight at 8 and online now, host David Granet talked to Dr. Jacopo Annese, director of The Brain Observatory at UC San Diego. Dr. Annese is working on a “Digital Brain Library” that uses advanced neuroimaging technologies to create digital models of the human brain at cellular resolution. Sounds like pretty standard scientific research, right? Not quite.
What makes Dr. Annese’s work unique is that he also studies — and ideally gets to know — the person behind the brain. With this information, he offers an unprecedented holistic perspective on this complex organ.
Dr. Annese’s Digital Brain Library relies on generous brain donations from community members who want to have a role in discovering how disease and aging affect the brain. San Diego resident Bishop Spangler was one of these people.
Bishop passed away on June 12, 2011 after living with GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumor) for nine years. In the following paragraphs, his wife Bettie Spangler tells us about her husband, why he felt compelled to donate his brain to Dr. Annese, and how the donation experience profoundly affected Bishop and the entire Spangler family during his final days.
Can you tell us a little bit about your husband?
Bishop Spangler was born in 1932 in a rural area of Southwest Virginia into a farming family of seven children. His family had a proud, rich history of helping settle a community named Meadows of Dan. Growing up, he learned about integrity, helping your neighbors, working as a team, doing deals with a “hand shake,” making your own music, barn dancing, and church. He learned about determination if you wanted to accomplish anything, and the importance of the environment for raising crops and live stock. After high school he found a college in Kentucky where he could go and work his way through and, four years later, he graduated from Berea College with his B.A. degree majoring in physics. He went on to the University of Pittsburgh on a teaching assistant program and earned a Masters in Mathematics, and later his PhD also in Mathematics. He married and later moved to San Diego where he worked in the aerospace industry and raised a family. Eventually, Bishop left the aerospace industry and became an entrepreneur. He loved to “wheel and deal” so he became a real estate broker where he could use many of his gifts/talents/passions. His goal was to always try to help people “stretch in order to obtain their dreams.”
How did your family become involved in the brain library project?
Bishop read an article in the newspaper toward the end of May about the Brain Observatory and the work that Dr. Annese was doing. He showed me the article after he had made the phone call to the paper asking for someone to call him, as he would like to be a donor. He told me that he wanted to give his brain to this project after he died and would I make sure it happened? I said that I did not want to do that for myself, but if that is what he wanted to do, then I would do all I could do to make it happen. He told his children about his decision and they supported him, as we all recognized this as a Bishop thing.
Can you tell us about the experience?
On May 25, 2011 I received a call from Dr. Annese giving me some information about the project. I told him he would need to talk to my husband and he offered to come to our home the next day. Bishop insisted on getting dressed and coming downstairs to meet Dr. Annese, along with our daughter and son. He was ready to sign whatever papers necessary as he knew his time was short and he wanted to take care of business. He was now a brain donor! Dr. Annese was always kind and considerate about not adding pressure or pushing Bishop for more. He would always tell him what was happening during the MRI studies and asking if he felt like doing more. When Bishop got tired he would tell him…no more. At one time the whole family came into the bedroom where Bishop was talking about his early history and the grandchildren asked to sit in. It was fine with Dr. Annese as long as we were quiet. He looked around the room with some on the bed and others on the floor spread out and said, “It looks like camping,” and everyone felt at ease. One of our granddaughters said, “Witnessing Gampa relive key moments of his life through Jacopo’s interviews and knowing that it would be used in support of something he deeply cared about was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.”
Why did your husband want to donate his brain?
Bishop wanted to leave something he could be remembered by—a kind of legacy. He also wanted to leave something that might help humanity in the future. One of our granddaughters said it best, “It made perfect sense since he marked his life with a desire to make a difference and an ongoing quest for deeper understanding about the mysteries of earth and spirituality.”
How did his decision to participate impact his end-of-life experience?
A few days before he died, we were all sitting around in the bedroom listening to him and Dr. Annese talk, when our friend and minister and his wife came in. Introductions were made and then Bishop pointed to Dr. Annese and told our minister, “This man saved my life.” Meaning, he had given him hope that he would live on into the future through this project, and he would be able to contribute something that might help humanity and the scientific community. He lived to accomplish whatever he could give to Dr. Annese for his program.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dr. Annese kept all of the promises he had made. He told me he would be with Bishop at the end and he would arrange everything needed to accomplish what Bishop indicated he wanted to do with his brain after he died. He was very clear in describing the project to us and to share the goals and objectives that he hoped to accomplish. He never pushed us in making any decisions or to keep appointments if it was not convenient. He also came to the Celebration Of Life service and gave support to all the family. By this time, we all considered him part of our family. We still are in contact. He has a kindness and a bedside manner that many do not have today. Bishop loved Jacopo and trusted him with the end of his life.