Amazing awesomeness for any day of the week. You go girl.
On a day when the debate about math and gender popped up again, ironic that we learn of Sally Ride’s death. She was only 61. Thoughtful pieces:
Sally Ride, First American Woman in Space, Dies at 61 by my friend and BlogHer colleague, Prof. Kim Pearson
Sally Ride Science – this site was hard to get to yesterday after her death was announced – I hope the traffic continues
Remembering Sally Ride from the White House with videos
Pioneering NASA Astronaut Sally Ride Dies At Age 61 from TechCrunch
RIP Sally Ride by another woman in the space industry
Sadly, there’s also some incredibly nasty, obnoxious stuff being put out there – pure linkbait – so I won’t link to it, but sheesh, give it a rest, people.
Stefanie Penn Spear is a resident of Chagrin Falls, a small business owner, mother of three and Founder and Executive Director of the soon-to-be launched 24/7 print and online news outlet about the environment, EcoWatch. I first learned about Stefanie after reading an excellent column she wrote that was published in both the Chagrin Valley Times and the Chagrin Solon Sun. In the column, she explains the natural alliance between business and the environment – two things about which she knows more than most people. In this exclusive interview with me, Stefanie details both the spark that ignited her dedication, and steps all of us can take to kindle the sparks and create sparks in others.
Please read the full post at Moms Clean Air Force.
So I’m sitting there eating my lunch during the Andrea Mitchell Reports hour (seriously, I work my lunch around her first 30 minutes or so if I can arrange it) and right at the beginning of the show, when it cuts to a commercial, this is what I see:
If ever a video deserved to go viral, it’s this one, don’t you think!? It is one of the most effective cause commercials I have seen in a very, very long time and it dovetails precisely with my work on behalf of the Moms Clean Air Force (an effort to highlight the incredible damage dirty air does to our kids and us, and the imperative we should all feel in supporting the EPA’s efforts on behalf of clean air).
Naturally, I wanted to know who was behind the ad. It resides at the URL for Clean Air Saves Lives, but the final seconds of the ad and a tagline at the very bottom of that website reveal that it’s American Family Voices, a group started in 2000 by none other than Mike Lux (he currently serves as the group’s president). From their mission statement:
American Family Voices was founded in 2000 to be a strong voice for middle and low income families on economic, health care, and consumer issues. Since our founding, we have educated the public and pushed for legislation on a number of vital issues to make American families more secure…
Stefanie Spear, a resident of Chagrin Falls, owner of Expedite Renewable Energy and founder of EcoWatch, got her essay, “Why I’m Going To Washington” (posted here on Green City Blue Lake – a great NE Ohio blog) published in both the Chagrin Valley Times (with the headline, “Clean air is paying off”) and in the Chagrin Solon Sun (with the headline, “Clean Air Act has benefitted small-business owners and economy”) this week. Although it’s not available at the websites of either of those long-time local publications, they did print the piece in full and so you can read it, in full, at the Green City Blue Lake link above.
After you read some of those links, you will see – this is not pie in the sky stuff about making money from caring about the environment and energy. She is one serious, accomplished doer.
I’m very grateful for Stefanie’s piece because so many times, we – writers especially – feel as though we work in isolation. And while we make contacts all the time, whether online or face to face, still, advocating for hot button issues requires a confidence and a persistence that is sustained by passion but is absolutely fortified by knowing that there are others doing it too. Read more
Join the on-the-ground fight against AEP’s outrageous dirty air bill, which would block life-saving clean air standards and cause 17,000 premature deaths every year! Over the next couple of weeks, we will be organizing local events in Columbus to increase the pressure on the big polluter.
“Ask What is Your Number?” Day of Action
Date: Thursday July 14th Time: 10am – 11am
Where: AEP Headquarters, 1 Riverside Plaza (Marconi and Long)
Meet: North Bank Park (Neil Ave and Spring St)
What: After a short walk from North Bank Park, we will have a press conference/ demonstration asking AEP “How many is too many”?
Join us on Thursday to support clean air in Ohio and nationwide! Banners and signs will be provided.
Read more from the Environmental Defense Fund at their Ask What’s Your Number site. They’ve got sample tweets you can post including:
17k premature deaths from @AEPnews’s dirty air bill. How many deaths are ok? #WhatsYourNumber #CleanAir http://goo.gl/hmja1 Tweet this!
@AEPnews’s Dirty Air Bill = 240k asthma attacks and 17k premature deaths. Acceptable? #WhatsYourNumber http://goo.gl/hmja1 Tweet this!
No advanced pollution controls on 40% of @AEPnews’s plants. How many lives is that costing? #WhatsYourNumber http://goo.gl/hmja1 Tweet this!
And they’ve also posted this PSA – warning, it features a child on a breathing device and is not easy to watch or listen to – as a mom with a child who has reactive airway disease, I feel it very viscerally:
Please remember, the deadline to submit comments on the new Mercury and Air Toxics rule has been extended to August 4. If you haven’t already done so, you have through then to email the EPA and show your support for the rule. And, of course, you can join the Moms Clean Air Force to help fight for clean air for our kids anytime. Every voice counts and is needed. Thank you.
The new rule replaces a similar Bush administration regulation that was struck down by a court that deemed it too lenient. The new rule will cut almost 2 million more tons of pollution per year than the Bush administration program.
States from Texas to New York will have to slash 70 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions and 50 percent of nitrogen oxides from power plants, compared with 2005 pollution levels.
Scientists say the fine particles and ozone from these plants contribute to deadly heart and lung failures.
The agency estimates the rule will be so potent that within three years, it will prevent as many as 34,000 premature deaths each year.
I would hope that Michele Bachmann and others who deploy aggressive rhetoric in the name of being pro-life or even loving the smell of emissions can find a way to support an effort like this one, but I’m not holding my breath, no pun intended. They should be sure to look at the interactive map and data (as well as this more static but simple depiction) that show just how many lives are at stake and where. Additionally: Read more
The current issue of Molecular Psychiatry features the work of Laura Fonken, a doctoral student in neuroscience at OSU. It’s titled, “Air pollution impairs cognition, provokes depressive-like behaviors and alters hippocampal cytokine expression and morphology.” According to this post on ScienceBlog.com, “Colleagues in Ohio State’s Department of Neuroscience collaborated with researchers in the university’s Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.” The research is getting a lot of coverage.
So what do they say our brain looks like on dirty air?
“The more we learn about the health effects of prolonged exposure to air pollution, the more reasons there are to be concerned,” said Randy Nelson, co-author of the study and professor of neuroscience and psychology at Ohio State.
“This study adds more evidence of pollution’s negative effects on health.”
Specifically, from The Daily Mail, “A cloud over our lives: Air pollution linked to learning problems and depression:”
The mice were exposed to the equivalent matter that people who live in polluted urban areas could expect.
After 10 months of exposure the researchers then performed a variety of behavioral tests on the animals.
The mice who breathed polluted air took longer to learn where the escape hole was located. They were also less likely to remember where the escape hole was when tested later.
In regard to depression: Read more
Each of my Moms Clean Air Force posts includes a reminder that asks you to please consider joining the Moms Clean Air Force and help fight for clean air for our kids. I remind you, as I so often do in even my city council work, that every voice counts and is needed. But now, this will be the last call for you to email the EPA and show your support for the new Mercury and Air Toxics rule because you have just through July 5th to do so. It certainly would be a patriotic thing to do over this holiday weekend, and I’ll thank you in advance.
If you’re wondering, just how big is this Mom’s Clean Air Force thing, in my opinion, it’s pretty darn big when you look at who is blogging on behalf of the effort. Frankly, it’s a pretty intimidating group of voices, both in terms of their writing, their passion, their credibility and their longevity as voices, particularly in print but also online and as speakers. Here’s a sample of their posts, all from just this week but we’ve been doing this since late March: Read more
I’m not in that group, but it is those who are that seem to be the most willing to ignore anything good that does derive from what seems like almost any quantity of regulation of almost anything.
Where’s this observation of mine coming from? It really became highlighted for me in a thread about clean air regulations that got consumed by the philosophical differences related to how we prioritize what is important to us. The example comes from this post at The Moderate Voice where I’ve been co-blogging for years as an example. Just read through the comments. (I know several of the regulars and we have acceptable online rapports that have developed over years, so you can stick to considering the content of the arguments made, as opposed to anything that might seem kind of personal.)
I don’t think that the back and forth there is atypical at all in terms of how those who are prone to see matters in a binary way apply that to the topic of government regulation. In fact, I think it reflects that type of vision extremely well.
By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:30 pm June 24th, 2011 in Business, Energy, Environment, Ethics, Government, Illness, Law, Moms Clean Air Force, Politics, Science, Social Issues, Utilities, Youth | 3 Comments
Filed Under Cleveland+, Government, Health Care, Law, leadership, Moms Clean Air Force, Ohio, Parenting, Politics, Research, Resources, Science, Social Issues, Utilities, Women, Writing, Youth | 1 Comment
Norm Roulet’s lengthy, in-depth post at REALNEO, “Happy Air Quality Awareness Week? Not in Cleveland, where air quality is poor, and awareness is worse! Meaning Modeling Matters!” is one of an abysmally few pieces of evidence that May 2 through 6 has been Air Quality Awareness Week.
Other pieces of evidence (scant themselves) that folks in Ohio would be made aware, during an effort dedicated to awareness, come from the Ohio EPA and Earth Gauge at WKYC (Channel 3). But that’s all I could Google up – I hope I’ve missed other coverage, because these results are terribly disappointing.
Worse yet, however, is that the scant publicizing of Air Quality Awareness Week is not nearly as disappointing, or upsetting, as how bad our air quality in Ohio actually is (although the number of inhalers I see in my youngest child’s elementary school nurse’s clinic indicates backs up this assertion without the need for much else, if you ask me). Read more
By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:39 am May 5th, 2011 in Cleveland+, Government, Health Care, Law, leadership, Moms Clean Air Force, Ohio, Parenting, Politics, Research, Resources, Science, Social Issues, Utilities, Women, Writing, Youth | 1 Comment
Last week, Earth Day commemorations included a listing of the “most green” and “least green” states. As I wrote then, Ohio won the gold – or tarnished – ring and was named the most least green state in the country. Yippee.
Now comes the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report for 2011. The Columbus Dispatch reports that, relatively speaking, there’s been some improvement:
Heidi Griesmer, an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman, said the bad smog grades don’t reflect the region’s steady improvement in air quality. Mandatory pollution cuts at power plants, cleaner fuels and lower-polluting cars are driving the reductions, she said.
The bad smog grades are due in part to research indicating that even lower concentrations pose health risks. The U.S. EPA is expected to propose a tougher smog standard this year, and central Ohio is expected to fail that, too.
But when you look at the grades and information for all of Ohio and for my region, Cuyahoga County, it’s impossible to ignore the miserably low expectations we’ve set if these grades are an improvement. The Plain Dealer, the paper of record in NE Ohio, says as much not only in its headline, “Lung Association annual air pollution report marks improvement, but air still poor in Cleveland, U.S.,” and amplifies that sentiment in the article: Read more
Barely two weeks ago, Miami University (of Oxford, Ohio) students were shearing off their hair for testing in order to raise awareness about the dangers of coal production and mercury:
The testing is the latest in the group’s efforts to ask Miami to close its campus coal plant and switch to renewable energy.
Miami’s plant is located on western campus and uses about 24,000 tons of coal annually.
“We’re trying to get the administration to retire the plant,” said freshman Dan Ward, a member of the Beyond Coal group.
According to the group, “coal-fired power plants emit toxic mercury into our air, where it rains down into our rivers and streams and then makes its way to our bodies via contaminated fish.”
And then, this past Monday evening, the president of the university announced plans to phase out the plant entirely by 2025 . The student group, Beyond Coal, was even given a specific hattip by the university’s administration: Read more
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY
June 15, 2010
Remarks of President Barack Obama-As Prepared for Delivery
Address to the Nation on the BP Oil Spill
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
As Prepared for Delivery—
Good evening. As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges. At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American. Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al Qaeda wherever it exists. And tonight, I’ve returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we’re waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens.
On April 20th, an explosion ripped through BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, about forty miles off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven workers lost their lives. Seventeen others were injured. And soon, nearly a mile beneath the surface of the ocean, oil began spewing into the water.
Because there has never been a leak of this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of human technology. That is why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge – a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s Secretary of Energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice. Read more
The Ohio House schedule indicates that the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee (see members here) will be taking opponent and interested party testimony regarding the issue of oil and gas drilling regulation, and specifically SB 165, on this Wednesday, January 26, starting at 9:30am in Room 018 in the basement of the Statehouse. For those interested, the suggested way to prepare testimony is to describe your story, keep it to a very few minutes and review the testimony given last week by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (which you can see in the Scribd document below) in addition to SB 165 itself.
If you don’t feel familiar enough with the issue, listen to this WCPN Sound of Ideas show with pro and con representatives here. I also suggest watching this short trailer video about the pervasive expansion of drilling throughout the country as covered in the documentary, Split Estate, which will be screened this Friday, January 29, 6:30 p.m., at Lakeland Community College, 7700 Clocktower Dr., Room T129, Kirtland. Hattip Cleveland Scene.
Do you have an experience related to this issue to share? Please do. It can make a difference. Read more
By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:58 am January 25th, 2010 in Cleveland+, Debates, democracy, Energy, Environment, Government, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Science, Statehouse, Utilities, WCPN/SOI | 1 Comment
[CHRIS WALLACE]: What would you tell a woman patient with no particular history of breast cancer what she should do about getting mammograms?
DR. BERNADINE HEALY, FORMER HEAD OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: I think she should stick with the existing guidelines that come out of the medical professional organizations and have been in place for a long time, which is start your screening at age 40; if you are concerned about a risk, maybe a baseline of 35; and then — and then have it done every year in your 40s. You might go to every other year in your 50s.
And you and your doctor will decide for how much longer it should go.
WALLACE: So basically you’re saying ignore the [U.S. Preventative Services Task Force] recommendations this week.
HEALY: Oh, I’m saying very powerfully ignore them, because unequivocally — and they agreed with this — this will increase the number of women dying of breast cancer. Women in their 40s have a very aggressive kind of breast cancer. They tend to progress fast. And to not screen women in that age group is astounding to me, and it goes against the bulk of individuals who are actually caring for patients. You may save some money, Chris, but you’re not going to save lives.
Her opinion on the role/goal/composition of the Task Force:
This particular task force has been in existence for about 25 years and its focus is on public health, modeling of health policy and economics.
It does not have people who are experts in hands-on patient care, for the most part, and on oncology or even in breast cancer or cervical cancer. It gets information from those groups, but it ultimately comes up with models.
You know, Chris, there’s really been no new information here. It is a different way of looking at the same problem. Their perspective is if you can cut in half the money we’re spending on screening for breast cancer and lose only, you know, maybe 10 percent, 20 percent of the benefit, that’s a good tradeoff.
A doctor who is responsible ethically for their individual patient would not make that tradeoff.
This is not the voice that medicine has used that focuses on the individual patient rather than the good of society. And even if they included the other groups, like the obstetricians and gynecologists, and the oncologists, and the cancer society, that would be fine, but they didn’t.
The issue here is that we are listening to one voice. And unlike what the secretary said and Senator Stabenow just said, this is not just a recommendation. This is codified in law that this is the group that will be providing information.
The bolded sentences highlight precisely what I’ve been saying in discussions about this topic – and why I think the tradeoff supported by the guidelines are completely unacceptable.
I appreciate that overall, she did not allow Wallace to drag her into a politicized conversation about the topic.
By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:02 pm November 23rd, 2009 in Culture, Economy, Gender, Government, Health Care, Illness, leadership, Media, Politics, Science, Sexism, Social Issues, Tech, Transparency, Women | Comments Off
See – these are the stories that I dread, that other women who are unhappy with the new guideline recommendation about breast cancer screening dread. That, under the new recommendations, a 30 year old woman will either not perform self-breast examinations and therefore have something with which they can go to a doctor and ask for more screening, or that if they ignore the new guidelines (which argue against self-examination) and go ahead and do self exams, that when they then go to their doctors and ask for the screening, the doctor will require some ridiculous threshold before he or she will approve or recommend the screening. And that even then, the woman’s insurance won’t cover it since the guidelines say that it’s imperfect and not recommended for women under 50.
That passivity will be approved and routine. That women will not trust themselves to know their body, that they will not bother because the system does not want to bother – because the system is so concerned about the harm of anxiety and over-biopsying.
I’ve read the guidelines, the reports and the very carefully worded explanations written by women I trust and admire.
But I am trusting my instinct on this and I am telling you – disapproving of self breast-examination and suggesting that women will have to walk in with such a threshold of concern for what they’re feeling about their body absolutely makes me irate at the thought of what a set back this is for women – for humans, for patients – to be in control of their health.
And the utter disregard for the human toll these illnesses take on everyone around the one diagnosed with the breast cancer.
Anxiety sucks. I’ve been there done that for years with shadows on films and MRIs that required additional testing. And while I have a “family history” we don’t have the gene. My Gale score isn’t high enough to get me into most clinical trials.
From the New York Times:
While many women do not think a screening test can be harmful, medical experts say the risks are real. A test can trigger unnecessary further tests, like biopsies, that can create extreme anxiety. And mammograms can find cancers that grow so slowly that they never would be noticed in a woman’s lifetime, resulting in unnecessary treatment.
Over all, the report says, the modest benefit of mammograms — reducing the breast cancer death rate by 15 percent — must be weighed against the harms.
Screening in the 40-49 decade results in a 15% reduction in fatalities? I’ll take that over reducing the harm of anxiety and overbiopsying anyday.
Filed Under Business, Civil Rights, Courts, employment, Ethics, Gender, Health Care, Illness, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Republicans, Science, Sexism, Social Issues, Statehouse, Voting, Women | 5 Comments
A few updates/notes:
1. Buckeye State Blog was indeed the first (and only one of two Ohio political blogs anywhere on the spectrum) to write about the case, Allen v. totes/Isotoner Corp.. On that day, I did pass its link on through women-focused listservs and it has been picked up since then, including on Change.org’s Friday Femme Fatale round-up – many thanks.
2. The decision came out just as OSU’s Institute on Women, Gender and Public Policy released a report on how poorly Ohio is doing vis a vis women.
3. That Danielle blogs here about her exchange of emails with totes (yes, small T) regarding the Allen case. For those catching up, this case says that breastfeeding does not constitute part of pregnancy and therefore is not protected under Ohio’s pregnancy discrimination law, since, you know, breastfeeding isn’t part of pregnancy.
4. Danielle then goes even further in this post, digging in and discussing the lower court opinions, facts and then the Ohio Supremes’ abject failure to deal with biology.
6. As a lawyer, a social worker and a mom who worked through all three of her pregnancies and pumped at work during two of them whenever I needed to within reason, including in airport bathrooms and during conference sessions when my mother would bring my infant to me, I have to tell you – there is almost nothing totes could say that would change my mind regarding how bad a legal decision the all-Republican Ohio Supreme Court made.
I agree that the facts do have relevance and importance, however, it is the crux – this idea that breastfeeding has no connection or not enough of a connection to pregnancy as to be connected to pregnancy discrimination that baffles most people who read the opinion. It is just a completely nonsensical, impractical and not reality-based reading of the law and life.
Additionally, it is the arguments that Judge Pfeifer raises that should have been asked and answered at the lower court:
Any court’s method of analyzing cases should be (1) whether the plaintiff stated a cognizable cause of action and (2) whether the facts of the case support the alleged cause of action. It is unclear why, on this question of great general interest, this court has embarked on a backwards analysis, letting stand the appellate court’s holding that LaNisa Allen was fired for leaving her post without permission rather than for pumping her breasts in the employee washroom, thus leaving unanswered the question of whether she even asserted a cognizable cause of action. The trial court proceeded properly, although its conclusion was
incorrect: it found as a matter of law that Ohio’s pregnancy discrimination laws do not apply to protect breastfeeding mothers once their babies are born. It did as it should in ruling on a summary judgment motion: it gave the benefit of the facts to Allen and ruled on the law.
Somehow, the appellate court lost its way, and this court has followed. In its six-paragraph decision, the appellate court concludes that Allen was not fired for pumping her breasts: “Rather, she was simply and plainly terminated as an employee at will for taking an unauthorized, extra break (unlike the restroom breaks which were authorized and available to all of the employees, appellant included).” Allen v. totes/Isotoner Corp. (Apr. 7, 2008) Butler App. No. CA2007-08-196. The appellate court does not explain why Allen’s trips to the restroom outside scheduled break times were different from the restroom trips
other employees made outside scheduled break times. There is no evidence in the record about any limit on the length of unscheduled restroom breaks and no evidence that employees had to seek permission from a supervisor to take an unscheduled restroom break. There is evidence only that unscheduled bathroom breaks were allowed and that LaNisa Allen was fired for taking them. What made her breaks different?
We accept cases not necessarily because of how the result might affect the parties in the individual case, but because of how a holding might affect other persons similarly situated. Ohio’s working mothers who endure the uncomfortable sacrifice of privacy that almost necessarily accompanies their attempt to remain on the job and nourish their children deserve to know whether Ohio’s pregnancy-discrimination laws protect them.
I would hold in this case that employment discrimination due to lactation is unlawful pursuant to R.C. 4112.01(B), that clear public policy justifies an exception to the employment-at-will doctrine for women fired for reasons relating to lactation, and that LaNisa Allen deserves the opportunity—due to the state of the record—to prove her claim before a jury.
7. So – Ohio state legislators – who is going to be the first to produce a bill to redress this situation? Or are you really going to make me run for the Ohio House 17th in order to get this done?
8. How many more reminders do we need that we have got to elect more diverse judges to the high court in Ohio?
By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:38 pm August 31st, 2009 in Business, Civil Rights, Courts, employment, Ethics, Gender, Health Care, Illness, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Republicans, Science, Sexism, Social Issues, Statehouse, Voting, Women | 5 Comments
I’ve had a google alert on “star trek: the tour” for more than two years as I’ve tried to help those in my family who adore Star Trek monitor the flight path of what is supposedly an amazing and unique exhibit of all things Star Trek. And tonight, we hit paydirt.
STAR TREK: THE EXHIBITION • Feb. 14-Sept. 7, 2009
About the Exhibit
Premier Exhibitions, Inc. announced today that STAR TREK THE EXHIBITION will make its Midwest debut at the Detroit Science Center on Feb. 14, 2009, for a limited engagement. This multi-city touring exhibition contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of authentic Star Trek ships, set re-creations, costumes and props from 5 television series and 10 films over the last 40+ years.
This unparalleled experience enables the public to step inside the Star Trek universe and become active participants in the legacy that has captivated our imagination for generations. Whether it is sitting on a recreation of the original U.S.S. Enterprise bridge or traveling through space on motion simulators, STAR TREK THE EXHIBITION fully immerses visitors in the legendary television adventure that has become synonymous with scientific innovation and ingenuity.
Highlights of STAR TREK THE EXHIBITION include:
• A detailed recreation of the bridge from the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 as featured in the original Star Trek television series. Visitors can stand on the Enterprise bridge and have their photo taken.
• Re-creations of original sets from Star Trek: The Next Generation, including Captain Picard’s quarters and command chair.
• A chance to ride through a Star Trek adventure in a full-motion flight simulator.
• A full-scale recreation of the Transporter Room from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
This interactive exhibit lets fans explore the ‘Star Trek’ universe hands-on with attractions, sets,
costumes and props from 5 TV series and 10 feature films.
You can thank me later.
Institute Professor Barbara Liskov has won the Association for Computing Machinery’s A.M. Turing Award, one of the highest honors in science and engineering, for her pioneering work in the design of computer programming languages. Liskov’s achievements underpin virtually every modern computing-related convenience in people’s daily lives.
Liskov, the first U.S. woman to earn a PhD from a computer science department, was recognized for helping make software more reliable, consistent and resistant to errors and hacking. She is only the second woman to receive the honor, which carries a $250,000 purse and is often described as the “Nobel Prize in computing.”
Liskov’s early innovations in software design have been the basis of every important programming language since 1975, including Ada, C++, Java and C#.
Liskov’s most significant impact stems from her influential contributions to the use of data abstraction, a valuable method for organizing complex programs. She was a leader in demonstrating how data abstraction could be used to make software easier to construct, modify and maintain. Many of these ideas were derived from her experience at Mitre Corp. in building the VENUS operating system, a small, interactive timesharing system.
In an interview, she said she was taken by surprise when she was told by the association that she won the Turing Award.
“It’s a great honor; it’s very exciting,” Liskov said. “It recognizes my contributions and their importance to the field.”
Colleagues said Liskov’s contributions are widely known in the computing field but not by the general public. “She changed the way people think about how to organize programs,” said John V. Guttag, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science, who nominated Liskov for the award. “Every modern programming language has ideas in it that can be traced back to Barbara. And every modern design method in programs owes a lot to her innovations.”
In the early days of computing, programs were written as long strings of numbers and characters known as code, sometimes broken up by chunks. Liskov’s work helped pioneer what is known as object-oriented programming, now the most common approach to software development. She is credited for laying the groundwork for development of sophisticated programs tailored to financial, medical, and other consumer and business applications.
Mazel tov to Professor Liskov.