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Women in Astronomy

The Normalcy Curve

10 Mar 2015, 11:00 UTC
The Normalcy Curve
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Wanda Diaz Merced next to the Solar System Radio Explorer Kiosk, which allows users to learn about solar radio waves through hearing and touch. (Credit: William S. Leibman)Today’s guest blogger is Wanda Diaz Merced. Wanda is a space scientist who lost her sight when she was a student studying physics at the University of Puerto Rico. Rather than give up the subject she loved, Wanda began to investigate techniques for analyzing astronomical signals using sound rather than visual information. In the year 1999, an advisor told me to ponder changing careers. At the same time, noticing that I could no longer identify the location of obvious items in my house, a friend advised me to take control of my health, visit the rethynologist, and learn orientation and mobility. I could identify certain things while the sun was transiting my sky, but during the night I was completely blind. I kept the white cane hidden inside my backpack. When walking on campus during the night, I would close it quickly on arrival at the physics department. How would I do physics if I could not see the charts?It is my personal belief that space scientists love to explore the unknown. It ...

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