30 Years Ago Today, Sally Ride Blasts Into Space & History
From a systems-engineering standpoint, it is easy to identify the point where Sally K. Ride began to leave the rest of the world behind. A flow chart of her life would show the crucial decision coming one day in 1977, when — as a 25-year-old astrophysicist winding up her doctoral work at Stanford University — she spotted an announcement in the campus newspaper about openings in the astronaut program, a career she had never even contemplated for herself. In what once would have been called an epiphany — but she herself would probably describe as a go/no-go decision node — she was up and out of the room before she had finished reading the notice, one of more than 1,000 women and nearly 7,000 men to apply for what would ultimately be the 35 slots in the astronaut class of 1978. Not everyone’s life resolves itself so neatly into yes- or-no decisions, taken in an instant and never looked back upon or regretted, but, if Sally Ride’s life proves anything, it is that the very smart are different from you and me.
Newsweek June 13, 1983