Friday, May 30, 2014

Mae Jemison, Astronaut

I'm working on my series of women in science protraits for the show in the fall. The latest in my scientist portrait series is American astronaut Mae Jemison. Astronauts are generally extraordinary, but I love that not only was she a trailblazer, she is someone with twin passions for art and science, who danced professionally, was well as being a chemical engineer and medical doctor.

Mae Jemison linocut
Mae Jemison, linocut on Japanese kozo paper, 9.25" by 12.5" (23.5 cm by 32 cm) in an edition of eight by Ele Willoughby, 2014

Mae Jemison (born October 17, 1956), is a physician who became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour for NASA, on September 12, 1992. She also has a B.S. in chemical engineering, served in the Peace Corps, is a dancer and choreographer, formed and runs her own company researching the application of technology to daily life, and even appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Inspired to join NASA by Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek, she was the first real astronaut to appear on any Star Trek show.

Jemison is a Professor-at-Large at Cornell University and was a professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College from 1995 to 2002. As well as her own company the Jemison Group, she founded the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence with projects like The Earth We Share (TEWS), an international science camp for students, ages 12 to 16, and biotech company BioSentient Corp.

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