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An Oceanographic Pioneer

Elizabeth ("Betty") Bunce waits for a sediment core to come up from the seafloor aboard the research vessel Chain circa 1958. Bunce (1915-2003) was a pioneering woman oceanographer. A geophysicist interested in tectonics and seismic studies, she was the first WHOI female oceanographer to go to sea for more than a day; be chief scientist on a WHOI ship; and serve as chair of a WHOI research department. When she received the 1995 Women Pioneers in Oceanography Award, geologist colleagues honored her by naming a deep-sea fault after her. Her colleagues described her as kind and loyal as well as forthright and tough—and she was famous for using a punching bag on research cruises. (Photo courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Archives)


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