Carson was born in May 27, 1907 on a farm in Springdale, Pennsylvania.
Overcoming the hardships of a poor family, she was able in 1929 to
graduated from the Pennsylvania College for Women in Pittsburgh,
PA, now known as Chatham College. She then attended Johns Hopkins
University in Baltimore, MD and received an M.A. in Marine Biology
from there in 1932. Rachel then taught Zoology at the University
of Maryland, spending her summers studying at the Marine Biological
Laboratories in Woods Hole, MA.
pursuing her desired career in research, she then went to work
in Washington, DC for the
U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, now known as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. While moving through the ranks in the publications department
there, she also had the opportunity to pursue her interests in
writing, publishing numerous books and articles about nature
and the environment.
She had a wonderful knack for being able to write about science
in a manner non-scientific readers could understand and enjoy.
as an author, particularly with the best-seller The Sea Around
Us (1951), which was on the nonfiction best-seller list for
and won the National Book Award, eventually allowed her to retire
and write full-time. In 1962 Rachel published her most famous
book (some would say infamous), Silent Spring. For
years she had been concerned about the negative effects of pesticides
on nature (a friend's birds had once been killed by arial spraying
of the pesticide DDT) but had been unable to get anything published
about the topic.
merging her expertise as a writer and scientist with other
researcher's findings on these topics,
she completed and
published Silent Spring, which became an overnight controversy
and success. She had proven that DDT and other agricultural
chemicals were harming both nature and humans, perhaps permanently,
sharing her findings with everyone had raised their environmental
consciousness. The chemical/pesticide industry was outraged,
and even tried to have the book banned, though unsuccessfully.
Rachel Carson became sick with cancer while writing Silent
Spring, and died on April 14, 1964, shortly after the book
She did not live long enough to see DDT eventually banned,
but as founder of the modern environmental movement, her
live on in her stead.