Lethal Tides: Mary Sears and the Marine Scientists who helped win World War II with Dr. Kate Musemeche | Shorewords!

September 15, 2022

Get to know one of the seminal WW2 Era Oceanographers!

Tune into this episode of Shorewords with Dr. Kate Musemeche in conversation about her new book, Lethal Tides: Mary Sears and the Marine Scientists who helped win World War II.  Dr. Kate’s book blends the early establishment of physical oceanography with naval history.  The podcast provides an account of researchers who pivoted from studying plankton, barnacles and crustaceans to providing voluminous information to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the tides, currents, waves and sediments that armed forces were likely to encounter as they landed on remote, and often under-studied, Pacific islands. This effort was led by Mary Sears, “the conscience of oceanography” whose work was posthumously acknowledged in 2000 with the launch of USNS Mary Sears, the first oceanographic survey ship named after a woman.

Show Transcription
This transcription was generated by a computer. Please excuse any errors.
Lesley Ewing

Hello. I’m Lesley Ewing, host of Shorewords!. This podcast combines two of my favorite things – the ocean and books. I learned to swim before I could walk and looked forward each summer to my family’s vacation at Ocean City, Maryland. As a student I was interested in science and engineering and became an environmental engineer before learning that there was something called coastal engineering. Both my 1 st and 2 nd mid-life crises resulted in me going back to school – first for a Masters of Engineering at UC Berkeley and later for a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. The first crisis also moved me from DC to the SF Bay. The second crisis reminded me how much I liked to read. Getting a Ph.D. while working a 40+-hour/week job meant that my only reading was work reports, text books and technical articles. They were all important and interesting books, but as soon as school ended, I replaced my academic text books with broader literature and realized that the coast was often a character in the fiction and non-fiction that I read. I am still fascinated by every visit to the ocean and remain in awe of what others write about the coast.