Rachel Carson (1907–1964)

American marine biologist and writer. Born on her family’s farm near Springdale, Pennsylvania, Carson received a B.A. from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College) and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University. She joined the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries in 1936, and wrote highly-acclaimed books on sea life: Under the Sea Wind (1941), The Sea Around Us (1951), and The Edge of the Sea (1954). Her most influential book, Silent Spring (1962), exposed the dangers of the use of pesticides, particularly DDT. This work led to a presidential commission that recommended a ban on the use of DDT in American agriculture, and eventually to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. Revered as a founder of the modern environmental movement, Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. See also rachelcarson.org.