physical oceanographer, WHOI
Physical oceanographer Amy Bower and her team set out in September 2007 aboard the research vessel Knorr to install an experimental device in the Labrador Sea. It is designed to wait for certain currents to flow by and then launch monitoring floats into them. Growing up near the sea, Bower was at home in and fascinated by the natural world. In graduate school she was diagnosed with macular degeneration--a progressive eye disease resulting in loss of central vision. Legally blind, she uses adaptive technologies such as text reading and magnification software to pursue a scientific career (including more than a dozen research cruises in which she has dodged hurricanes in the Atlantic and modern-day pirates in the Indian Ocean) and a life outside of work in which she skis, sails, and promotes activities for the visually impaired community. In 2003, the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Mass., named her Blind Employee of the Year in Massachusetts. On her Labrador Sea cruise, she built in an innovative outreach project with students and teachers at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass.