14 4 / 2014
Though she did not set out to do so, Carson influenced the environmental movement as no one had since the 19th century’s most celebrated hermit, Henry David Thoreau, wrote about Walden Pond. “Silent Spring” presents a view of nature compromised by synthetic pesticides, especially DDT. Once these pesticides entered the biosphere, Carson argued, they not only killed bugs but also made their way up the food chain to threaten bird and fish populations and could eventually sicken children. Much of the data and case studies that Carson drew from weren’t new; the scientific community had known of these findings for some time, but Carson was the first to put them all together for the general public and to draw stark and far-reaching conclusions. In doing so, Carson, the citizen-scientist, spawned a revolution.
“Silent Spring,” which has sold more than two million copies, made a powerful case for the idea that if humankind poisoned nature, nature would in turn poison humankind. “Our heedless and destructive acts enter into the vast cycles of the earth and in time return to bring hazard to ourselves,” she told the subcommittee. We still see the effects of unfettered human intervention through Carson’s eyes: she popularized modern ecology.
If anything, environmental issues have grown larger — and more urgent — since Carson’s day. Yet no single work has had the impact of “Silent Spring.” It is not that we lack eloquent and impassioned environmental advocates with the capacity to reach a broad audience on issues like climate change. Bill McKibben was the first to make a compelling case, in 1989, for the crisis of global warming in “The End of Nature.” Elizabeth Kolbert followed with “Field Notes From a Catastrophe.” Al Gore sounded the alarm with “An Inconvenient Truth,” and was awarded the Nobel Prize. They are widely considered responsible for shaping our view of global warming, but none was able to galvanize a nation into demanding concrete change in quite the way that Carson did.
Silent Spring was published on September 27, 1962 — 50 years ago today.
Reblogging for the 50th anniversary of her death today, April 14, 1964.
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05 4 / 2014
Let’s play a game of Where’s the Woman…
Pictured above is the MIT Chemistry Lab staff at the turn of the 20th century, where Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards sits among her male peers. She was a trailblazer for women in the sciences - her ‘firsts’ include:
First woman admitted to MIT,
First woman professor at MIT,
First woman accepted to a science and tech university in America,
First woman to earn a chemistry degree (Vassar).
I highly recommend pursuing her Wikipedia article, she is a very inspiring woman in science!
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08 3 / 2014
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08 3 / 2014
Women in Science Wed: Meet Cecilia Helena Payne Gaposchkin, Harvard College Observatory astrophysicist known for her research on stellar spectra. #groundbreaker
More from Smithsonian Institution Archives
She discovered the universe is made mainly of hydrogen. This is such a common known fact that few acknowledge how we came to know this.
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21 2 / 2014
“From aof , a of . has and . The of not at by the . the and to a by any . not by and
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31 12 / 2013
On December 31, 1911, Marie Skłodowska-Curie got her second Nobel Prize. The Polish-French scientist was the first woman awarded with a Nobel Prize, the first to be given a second Nobel Prize and the only one to be honoured with a Nobel Prize in two different sciences (Physics and Chemistry).
Read more: http://bit.ly/19yXV3S via The History Channel
102nd anniversary of Marie Curie being awarded her second Nobel prize! This was in chemistry “in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element.”
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31 12 / 2013
Happy Birthday: Annie Jump Cannon (11 Dec 1863- 13 Apr 1941) Cannon was a deaf American astronomer who specialized in the classification of stellar spectra, the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Oxford, and was voted one of the greatest living American women in 1923. Cannon devised a revolutionary system for classifying stars formally known as the Harvard Spectral Classification Scheme. In 1922 this system became the official method for classifying stars under the International Astronomical Union. During her research Annie also discovered about 300 new stars and classified 325, 000 others. She earned the nickname Census Taker of the Stars
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31 12 / 2013
Gertrude B. Elion 1918- 1999
Scientist and Nobel Prize winner, Gertrude Elion was born to immigrant parents in New York City. She worked hard in public school and college and graduated with a degree in Chemistry. Despite her credentials, Gertrude initially had trouble finding work because many laboratories refused to hire woman chemists. She worked sometimes as a lab assistant and sometimes as a substitute teacher while she finished her Master’s degree.
With the advent of WWII, new possibilities opened for women in chemistry. She began a partnership with Dr. George Hitchings, together they investigated the chemical make up of diseased cells and pathogens to find ways to block viral infection. They found ways to block leukemia, herpes and AIDS. With the bulk of her work, Gertrude would develop 45 patents in medicine and be awarded 23 honorary degrees. Gertrude served as an advisor to the World Health Organization and the American Association for Cancer Research. It was in 1988 that Gertrude received the Nobel for Medicine, only one of many such awards.
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