Dixy Lee Ray was an American scientist and politician who served as the 17th Governor of the U.S. state of Washington.
Variously described as idiosyncratic, and “ridiculously smart,” she was the state’s first female governor and was governor during the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. She was a supporter of atomic energy.
A graduate of Mills College and Stanford University, where she earned a doctorate in biology, Ray became an associate professor at the University of Washington in 1957.
She was chief scientist aboard the schooner SS Te Vega during the International Indian Ocean Expedition. Under her guidance, the nearly bankrupt Pacific Science Center was transformed from a traditional, exhibit-oriented museum to an interactive learning center, and returned to solvency.