ScienceGoogle's latest 'Doodle' commemorates Sally Ride, 1st American woman to go in space

Google’s latest ‘Doodle’ commemorates Sally Ride, 1st American woman to go in space

The Google Doodle for May 26 was actually a collection of GIF images celebrating the 64th birth anniversary of Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut to travel to space. Just like every heartwarming story about a kid who grew up with stars in their eyes, Sally was passionate about science as a child. But her heart also lay in sports, though she gave up her ambition to play professional tennis in favor of studying science.

Born in 1951 in Los Angeles, Sally Ride loved playing street football, watching the sky with her small telescope and tinkering about with her chemistry set. By the end of her inspirational life on 23 July 2012, she was a well known physicist, science writer, environmentalist and advocate for encouraging little ones to think of science as a career. That is why the Google Doodle for May 26 has not one, but 5 animated sketches celebrating her life.


Sally was doing her Ph.D. in physics at Stanford University when she spotted a post saying NASA was going to allow women to apply as astronauts for the first time ever. It was the year 1977 and her enthusiasm knew no bounds as she sent in an application for the same. On 18 June 1883, she became the only female from the US to have set off into space. After her stint with NASA, Sally became a professor of physics at the University of California in San Diego.


Google’s celebratory landing pages have become increasingly more representative of women and people of various ethnic groups since activists started accusing the search giant of being ‘white male’ oriented. SPARK, a body aimed at empowering girls, analyzed 445 Google Doodles about individuals over 4 years. Only 17.3% or 77 represented females, out of which 4.3% honored women of color. A look at 89 global Doodles showed that they were dedicated to 74 male achievers.

We can’t have more women like Sally Ride in this world if society continues to misrepresent the idea of what being a scientist is all about. It’s a good thing people are calling out bigotry in all fields of research and that feminism is not a ‘bad word’ today.

Behind the Doodle: Sally Ride

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