Perhaps it’s natural, while looking at old photos, to wonder, “What ever happened to that person?” Every once in a while, through comments, tags, and notes in the Flickr Commons, we learn the answer. Score one for crowdsourcing!
One such mystery was solved recently. This lovely image of a girl using a sextant to calculate latitude is from the Library of Congress uploads. The photographer was Alfred T. Palmer; it was taken in Los Angeles on a cloudless day in September 1942. “Learning how to determine latitude by using a sextant is Senta Osoling, student at Polytechnic High School, Los Angeles, Calif. Navigation classes are part of the school’s program for training its students for specific contributions to the war effort” is the descriptive caption.
Learning how to determine latitude by using a sextant is Senta Osoling, student at Polytechnic High School, Los Angeles, Calif. Navigation classes are part of the school's program for training its students for specific contributions to the war effort (LOC)
So, who was Senta Osoling, and whatever happened to her?
Almost two years ago, I tracked down a scientific paper that she co-authored in 1949 — presumably, from the context, when she was a chemistry student (her co-author, Alfred Deutsch, was a graduate student in the department of chemistry at UCLA). The citation is:
Alfred Deutsch and Senta Osoling, “Conductimetric and Potentiometric Studies of the Stoichiometry and Equilibria of Boric Acid-Mannitol Complexes,” Journal of the American Chemical Society 71(5)( May 1949): 1637-1940.
So it’s not exactly a source for personal details. This week, a much better answer came from Flickr user robertvaldivia:
Lovely Senta is now Senta A. Raizen and she is the Director at The National Center for Improving Science Education in Washington, DC.
Raizen earned an MA at Bryn Mawr in 1945, and was a chemist at Sun Oil before moving into policy work. The link robertvaldivia left with this note shows a recent photo of Senta A. Raizen, and gives a summary of her impressive career in science education. And that impressive career apparently started with hands-on science learning when she was a high school student in Los Angeles during World War II.