A black and white photo side profile of a woman looking closely at a maritime chart.
Specialist Mary Palmquist, a WAVE working at the Hydrographic office during World War II.

Seminar Series: Lethal Tides with Catherine Musemeche – 6 June, 7:00 PM EST

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Thursday, 6 June 2024
7:00 PM EST

Seminars are free to attend, although we hope you will support the Series with a suggested $10 Seminar Guest donation.

Join us as Dr. Catherine Musemeche recounts the inspiring, little-known story of Mary Sears whose research was pivotal in the US victory over Japan in the Pacific.

When World War II began the US Navy was unprepared to enact its island-hopping strategy to reach Japan. Anticipating tides, planning for coral reefs, and preparing for enemy fire was new ground for Navy strategists; with lives at stake it was ground that had to be covered quickly. They turned to Mary Sears, an overlooked oceanographer with untapped talent who, along with a team of colorful and quirky marine scientists, became instrumental in turning the tide of the war in the United States’ favor. Sears and her team helped Navy planners “solve the ocean” by guiding them to optimal landing sites in the Pacific and by identifying thermoclines, temperature gradients in the ocean, where US submarines could hide from the enemy.

You won't want to miss this incredible story of unsung heroism and scientific ingenuity that forever changed the course of World War II. We look forward to seeing you!

About the Speaker

Catherine “Kate” Musemeche is a graduate of the University of Texas McGovern Medical School in Houston, Texas and the University of Texas School of Law. She has been a pediatric surgeon for more than three decades. Musemeche’s first book, Small, was longlisted for the E. O. Wilson/Pen American Literary Science Award and was awarded the Texas Writer’s League Discovery Prize for Nonfiction in 2015. Her second book, Hurt, was named one of the top ten EMS books of the decade. She has also contributed to Smithsonian Magazine, the Wall Street Journal,  the New York Times “Motherlode” blog,, Creative Nonfiction magazine and EMS World. She lives in Austin, Texas.