Women in STEM: Alice Vibert Douglas

We would like to answer for you this week the question that keeps us all up some nights; namely, how did Asteroid 3269 get its name? Turns out that Asteroid 3269 bears the name of a prominent Canadian scientist, Dr. Alice Vibert Douglas.

Widely regarded as a pioneer in the field of astrophysics, Dr. Douglas came to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in 1939 and served as Dean of Women for the next twenty years.

She served as president of the Royal Astronomical Society [1943-1945], as the first Canadian president of the International Federation of University Women [1947-1950], and as the Canadian representative at the 1954 UNESCO conference in Montevideo.

In 1967, she was named one of 10 “Women of the Century” by the National Council of Jewish Women.

Dr. Douglas was a dreamer and her dreams led her to become one of the most important astrophysicists of the 20th century. Fittingly, a patera (crater) was named after her on the planet Venus. The following quote best sums up her contribution to aspiring others’ imagination and curiosity.

“Throughout the ages, intellectual progress has been due to three attributes of mankind – a deeply implanted, insatiable curiosity; a far-reaching, unrestrainable, unfetterable imagination; and an undaunted faith that there is order in the universe, an underlying harmony in nature….

You cannot solve the riddles of the stars without invoking the aid of the atom, nor can you fully comprehend the atom without the aid of the stars.

On the uplifting wings of imagination, the astrophysicist roams the universe from atom to atom, from star to star, from star to atom, from atom to star.

Impelled by curiosity regarding the natural universe, encouraged by evidence for his faith in the reality of cosmic harmony, he presses on and on – a sweet and fitting thing it is to toil for Truth.”

“From atoms to stars” – Allie Vibert Douglas, 1929

Be curious girls. Be curious and maybe the next Asteroid will bear your name.

Next week: Have you ever heard of Lauren Lake? Don’t miss next week “Women in STEM”!

STEM Camp’s new segment “Women in STEM” features prominent female Canadian STEM Champions. It is part of STEM Camp’s ongoing passion for, and commitment to, helping parents entice young girls to pursue their dreams in STEM-related fields. It is our hope that parents will read this feature with their girls each Monday from December 11, 2017 until the last Monday of June 2018. Go STEM girls!