Dr. Amy Bower

Oceanographer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Amy Bower is an Oceanographer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics at Tufts University and her PHD in Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. She was not born blind, but she lost her sight as a young adult due to Retinitis Pigmentosa. However, she was not deterred from her career goal to study and work in the scientific field. She uses adaptive technology, such as a screen magnifier, talking screen readers, and sighted assistance. Amy is proud of her work and supports the blind community through education about what blind people are able to do with their lives.

About Her Work

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research and education. Funded by grants, contracts, and donations, WHOI has six research departments and runs more than 40 centers and labs. Their research includes interdisciplinary work related to the coastal ocean, ocean life, exploration and climate change. Learn more about WHOI on their website.

In 2007, Amy founded OceanInsight, an education outreach program for the blind and visually impaired. Partnered with Perkins School for the Blind, OnceanInsight educates students of all ages with accessible content, including a blog by Dr. Bower on life as a blind scientist. The program introduces students to occupations within geoscience that they may not have considered possible for someone with disabilities.

Amy has been on several oceanic expeditions around the Labrador Sea, which lies between Canada and Greenland. A large part of her study revolves around the Great Ocean Conveyer, the connected currents around the globe that redistribute heat and fresh water. In 2014, with colleagues from the US and half a dozen other countries, they installed an ocean observation system as part of the Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program (OSNAP). Amy's contribution was to map the deep currents in the Ocean Conveyer over the next three years, releasing 120 floats that would sink and drift over time. In 2018, Amy collected those that resurfaced and used their data to construct a map of these currents.

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