Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bridging Worlds

One of the many amazing things about Elsie Gregory MacGill was the degree to which she served as a bridge.  She advocated that scientists and engineers should take an active role in government and public life.  Elsie modeled her ideas.  She encouraged her engineering colleagues to reach beyond their areas of expertise to learn about new and different subjects:

"More and more we find that because technology shapes social and economic change, we are required to anticipate not only the technical but also the social and economic consequences of our work, bringing subjectivity into an otherwise fairly precise profession". (99, Queen of the Hurricanes) 

At the same time, she encouraged her feminist colleagues to ensure they were well-versed in the technological changes sweeping Canadian society in the twentieth century.

It still amazes me to think that Elsie was born in 1905 - only a few short years after the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk by the Wright Brothers - and she lived to see rockets and the moon landing.  

         (Wright Flyer at the Smithsonian Aviation and Aerospace Museum - Photo by C. Sissons)

Elsie saw major changes in women's advancement from winning the vote and being declared "persons" to the recommendations of The Royal Commission on the Status of Women.

In her words, actions and identify Elsie served as a bridge.  She knew that Canadian society needed the knowledge and expertise of scientists and engineers and she knew that scientists and engineers needed the knowledge and expertise of society.  

Today our world is increasingly more technological by the minute and it cannot be denied that we are living in the knowledge-based society.  Take time to stop and think about the various technologies you use - learn a little bit more about them and who makes them.  Reach out and explore an a subject or area you know little about - what you learn may surprise you.  You may be surprised by how many links there actually are between seemingly divergent areas.     

No comments:

Post a Comment