Ada Loveless Day!

Today’s blog is a little bit different.  I’m taking part in “Ada Loveless Day” — a day to celebrate women in science and technology.

The woman I’ve chosen to celebrate is someone who is a minor celebrity in Pasadena — except when there’s an earthquake.

And then she’s a MAJOR celebrity.

Dr. Kate Hutton, of Caltech.

Here’s a small portion of her Wikipedia entry:

“Kate Hutton, nicknamed the Earthquake Lady or Dr. Kate, is staff seismologist at Caltech University in Pasadena, CA

Hutton received a B.S. in astronomy from Penn State in 1971, and an M.S. (1973) and Ph.D. (1976) in astronomy from the University of Maryland, College Park.   She has worked for the Caltech earthquake center as a seismologist her entire career.

After graduation, Hutton says she found astronomy jobs scarce, so switched careers. She sees the two professions as similar: “Earth is a planet, after all, so it’s sort of a matter of looking down rather than looking up.” …. Hutton is sought by the media for her professional commentary. Her local celebrity is such that people take note of her shopping, whether she is replacing glassware or stocking up.

According to LA Weekly “Hutton strikes just the right balance between calm and caution” in explaining earthquake science to viewers.”

I had the honor to have met her briefly many years ago, and I make her -re-aquaintence every time we have an earthquake here in Southern California, via tv and radio.

Thank you Dr. Kate for the work you do, and for being a familiar, calming voice in the midst of chaos.

And thank you even more for choosing to become a seismologist and for being a role model to other women who are thinking of pursuing sciences, and for showing what women can do.

Yay Dr. Kate!

(I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of you –so the San Andreas Fault is your stand-in.   You’re probably used to that.)

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12 comments on “Ada Loveless Day!”

  1. I am so pleased to have Kate as one of my sisters of my spiritual heart. She is a great lady and I am kicking myself that I didn’t think of her first! I know that I always felt better when she would come on the TV after an earthquake. I remember when she told me she would always keep her pants/shoes by the side of the bed like a fire fighter in case there was a rumble in the middle of the night and she had to get to Cal Tech in a hurry.

    • We just had to “use” Dr. Kate recently — 4.4 in Pasadena about 10 days ago. God bless Dr. Kate, and all the people at Caltech! She’s a fantastic person and I’m proud to, however briefly, have known her.

  2. Women are clearly best!

    The picture makes me wonder – is there a dragon just below the surface?

  3. Kate’s a Caltech living treasure and totally dedicated to her work. I like the way she gives us the facts, straight. If ever there’s a bad earthquake in LA, we can’t say she didn’t try to get us prepared.

    Is that photo of Temblor mountains and the Carrizo Plain? After seeing a huge version of this in the earthquake center at Caltech, I just had to go. It’s not too far northwest of here, and worth the journey (apart from Taft and the oil fields). I bet the wild flowers are putting on a great show.

    • I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know what area the picture is from except generally San Andreas Fault.”. I pulled it off wikipedia, and it’s public domain. But, if it’s a place I where I can hike and see it first hand, that would be cool.

      By the way, reading a great book right now about California and earthquakes called “a crack at the edge of the world” by Simon Winchester. I highly recommend it!

  4. Go Kate the Earthquake lady! Now I know who to call to borrow batteries for that flashlight.

  5. Seems everyone here has some sort of personal relationship with Kate. I was just excited when I saw her walking down Lake a few weeks back.

  6. ok
    now that the crowds have passed I’ll tell you a funny story. I did the graphics on one of the ARTS buses in Pasadena. It’s the one with the cow head. My original design had Kate as rose queen (in the place that the cow occupies) . For Kates septar, I had her holding a parking meter (new to Pasadena at the time). It was aimed at the mountains with a graph of a earth quake reading that ran the length of the range. The woman running the buses was most likely a lesbian and seemed amused, but alas, if I wanted the commission (and I needed the money) I had to switch out the controversial elements. I made a case for the cow using the cattle industry in the early rancho era; but that cow ain’t no long horn steer… winky wink

    I gave a friend permission (who teaches at one of our art institutions) to use the original design in her presentation of “lesbians in art”….and the kids love it

    • I’d love to see that artwork! Hilarious. And nicely done. Kate used to hang out with some good friends of mine, and I met her in passing a couple of times although she wouldn’t remember me at all; I always thought she was awesome. Then my friends moved away, and I think they all lost touch. But I always think of her (obviously) during earthquakes!


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