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Originally aired on January 24, 2017, this PBS American Experience episode about marine biologist and Silent Spring author Rachel Carson is currently available for online streaming. This two-hour episode traces Carson's biography, describing her Pennsylvania childhood, her graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University (which she was forced to abandon in order to financially support her family), her work at the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and her eventual decision to pursue nature writing full-time. The episode also discusses the introduction and widespread use of DDT during the 1940s and '50s and explores shifting public perceptions of science during the dawn of the atomic age. These shifting perceptions informed reactions to Silent Spring, which sparked a robust public debate and governmental action about DDT safety after its 1962 publication. This documentary is accompanied by a number of related resources that may be of interest, including a short film in which scientists and historians discuss the ongoing debate about DDT and malaria.
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GEM Subject
Date Issued 2017-01-24
Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2017-12-01
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