On her birthday, Sally Ride gets a Google doodle


Were she still alive, Sally Ride would be 64 today.

The first U.S. woman in space is honored with today’s Google Doodle, the creator of which provides a pretty neat behind-the-scenes story.

In a Google blog post, her partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, wrote that Ride’s legacy may well be motivating young women to a career in science.

Studies show that the reason kids turn away from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is not that they don’t like it or aren’t good it. Instead, young people get turned off because society sends false messages about who scientists are, what they do, and how they work. So Sally decided to use her high profile to motivate young people to stick with their interest in science and to consider pursuing STEM careers.

In 2001, Sally and I and three friends started Sally Ride Science to create programs and publications that bring science to life and show young people that STEM is fascinating, creative, and fun. Since then, we’ve trained thousands of teachers on how to spark and sustain interest in STEM and reached millions of students with our books and programs.

Sally died almost three years ago on July 23, 2012, from pancreatic cancer. But I know she would be honored by today’s Google Doodle. With whimsy, it expresses Sally’s sense of fun and adventure, and her ability to inspire young people. And who knows—maybe her Doodle will motivate some girl or boy somewhere in the world to become a scientist and adventurer just like Sally.