Monday, October 09, 2006

A woman established a new science.

Rachel Carson was born at a time when the study of the environment was not a separate science. She was trained as a biologist, but made her mark by establishing a new field in Chemistry, an area that was not her expertise. She is the mother of environmental chemistry, a woman who inadvertently established a new science. In 1929, just as the Great Depression hit the U.S., Rachel started graduate school at Johns Hopkins University. At that time, biology was a male-dominated discipline. She graduated in 1932 with a master's degree in marine zoology, but there were hardly any jobs available, especially for a female scientist.

Rachel's era was a time of change, a time when women were fighting for equal rights. Franklin Roosevelt came to power and appointed a woman as secretary of labor the first time a woman was granted such a post. Around that time, Rachel began her career as a science writer. A trained scientist who was always meticulous about the accuracy of her research, she was also a highly skilled writer. After earning the highest score that anyone had ever obtained at the civil service examination, Rachel became the second woman to be hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. As junior aquatic biologist, this job allowed her to study the sea and write. It was a dream job. Rachel's first book, Under the Sea Wind, was a landmark in the history of science writing. Her honest depiction paved the way for modern science writing. Unfortunately, the book did not sell well, because the U.S. entered World War II. During the war, Carson's work as a scientist was greatly valued, as she could provide information on ocean currents and waves and help prepare accurate ocean charts.

Can know more about her here

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