Dixy Lee Ray joins Zoology faculty at University of Washington in 1945.

  • By Mildred Andrews
  • Posted 1/05/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 602

In 1945, Dixy Lee Ray (1914-1994), scientist, future president of the Atomic Energy Commission, and future governor of Washington state, joins the Zoology Department at the University of Washington. In the same year she earns her doctorate in Zoology at Stanford University.

She wrote her dissertation on deep-sea fish that produce their own light. She would serve as professor of zoology for nearly three decades, specializing in marine biology. Until the 1960s, she was one of only three women faculty members in all University of Washington science departments.

She will go on to direct Seattle's Pacific Science Center for nine years, will serve on the Atomic Energy Commission, and as governor of Washington state from 1977 to 1981.


Mildred Tanner Andrews, Woman's Place: a Guide to Seattle and King County History (Seattle: Gemil Press, 1994), 162-64; Louis R. Guzzo, Is It True What They Say About Dixy? (Seattle: Writing Works, 1994); Jennifer James-Wilson and Brenda Owings-Klimek, eds., Making a Difference, A Centennial Celebration of Washington Women vol. 2 (Olympia: Office of Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1990), 223-254; Seattle Post-Intelligencer "Former Gov. Dixy Lee Ray Dies," January 3, 1994, sec. 1, p. 4.

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