Nomadic Monument for Women in Robotics in the Rice Engineering News

June 19th, 2018

By Cintia Listenbee, CS Publicist 

Lydia Kavraki, the Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science and of bioengineering at Rice University, is among the eight women featured in the Nomadic Monument for Women in Robotics.

The monument celebrates the innovations of female robotic pioneers, and was displayed in April at the Philadelphia Science Festival. The creators of the 13-foot geodesic dome, Diedra Krieger and Gabriela Alfaro, say their goal was to bring together “a community of women eagerly inviting aspiring pioneers to join them when entering the dome.”

The likenesses of the female roboticists are intended to challenge stereotypes about who can be an engineer, and encourage girls to develop a sense of belonging in an informal STEM learning environment.

Lydia Kavraki is known for her work on robot motion planning and the application of AI and robotics methods for creating collaborative robotic systems. She has also developed robotics-inspired algorithms for structural computational biology.

Kavraki was quoted on the monument as saying, “Robotics is at a very interesting crossroad. It has the potential to impact our lives in a positive way and I want to be part of this positive change.”

Artist Joey Hartmann-Dow’s created near life-sized portraits at eye-level around the inside of the dome.

Featured with Kavraki are Ruzena Bajcsy from Berkeley, Helen Grenier from CyPhyWorks, Ayanna Howard from Georgia Tech, Hadas Kress-Gazit from Cornell, Katherine Kuchenbecker from Max Planck, Lynne Parker from NSF, and Daniela Rus from MIT.

Read more in Rice Engineering News