Seneca Falls, NY Sylvia Earle fell into love with the ocean at age 3 when a big wave knocked her off her feet on the New Jersey shore in 1939. Her childhood fascination with horseshoe crabs, starfish and tiny seaweed creatures deepened into an irresistible urge to submerge. Descending thousands of feet into the cold, dark abyss, she said, brought her face-to-face with the "sparkle, flash and glow" of a luminescent world that resembles "a galaxy of living stars."
On Saturday, the acclaimed marine biologist, author and co-founder of a company that builds deep submersibles was one of 19 women inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
The ceremony takes place annually in this upstate New York village where the first known women's rights convention was held in 1848.
Among the eight living honorees attending were Janet Reno, the first female U.S. attorney general; Leontine Kelly, the nation's first black female bishop in the United Methodist Church; and Frances Kathleen Oldham Kelsey, a medical researcher whose refusal to approve thalidomide in the 1960s averted the horror of birth deformities that had occurred among pregnant women who took the drug in Europe.
Only one surviving honoree failed to make the ceremony 91-year-old author Eudora Welty, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for "The Optimist's Daughter."