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Davida Y. "Vida" Teller Ph.D.

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Davida "Vida" Y. TELLER, PhD. July 1938~October 2011 UW Professor Emerita of Psychology and Physiology-Biophysics; awards include: Glenn Fry from the American Academy of Optometry, 1982, Honorary Doctor of Science from the State University of New York 1992; Friedenwald Award for outstanding achievement in both research and clinical sciences 1997. Davida Young Teller was born to David and Jean (Sturges) Young in 1938. She attended Swarthmore College and earned her PhD in Psychology at UC Berkeley. She and her then-husband, David Teller, PhD Biochemistry, moved to Seattle in 1965. Early in her career, Vi's team created a way to prove how babies' sight develops in the first six months. She found that newborns see mostly high-contrast combinations. Today's black-and-white toys for newborns are a direct result of her work. She and her team created the Teller Acuity Cards, now used in eye clinics around the world. In the 1960's-70's, the world was harsh to women scientists. She made her feminist voice heard, using her intelligence, tact and wry wit to achieve her goals despite opposition. In many ways, Davida's career has been a model for women in science, demonstrating the possibility of excellence as a scientist without the loss of femininity or family. As scientist and mother, she was delighted by 'the infant researchers' amiable and fully effective jury-rigging of diaper-changing tables from oscilloscope carts.' She was imperfect, practical, brilliant, witty and loving. She was a bright spark; she was our Mom, and we will miss her. Davida Teller is survived by loving husband Anthony Young, children Stephen and Sara, grandchildren Cole and Dean, her four siblings: Richard, Jeanne Poole, Daniel and Samuel, as well as countless students. Memorial is November 19th, 2011, 3:00 pm, UW Center for Urban Horticulture. Donations to Heifer International in lieu of flowers.
Published in The Seattle Times on Oct. 23, 2011
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