Scientists who changed the world: Rachel Carson

The science of chemistry has armed itself with the most terrible weapons, and that in turning those weapons against insects it had also turned them against earth itself.

Rachel Carson was an American scientist who was born in 1907 in rural Pennsylvania.

From an early age she loved of nature and as a straight A student was able to enter university to study writing and eventually biology.

She was a trailblazer from the start, combining two degrees into one (biology and writing) and paving the way for more women to work in the area of science.

This book outlines the story of her pathway into science in an easy to see and read fashion for young readers. Illustrations, photographs and short captions allow for easy access to quality information alongside more in depth paragraphs.

As the book progresses, readers will learn about her passion as an environmentalist and how many of her findings helped to pave the way into her own activism and the current activism of today.

One area she particularly made the world aware of was the use of pesticides and the negative impact that have on the environment, despite our longing to still use them.

There are some excellent time lines and full page quotes which show the progress she helped to make in the world.

There is also information about her research has continued to influence people today.

Up until now I was not aware of Rachel Carson but without people like her I am sure that our awareness would not be like it is today.

Giving students the chance to read into the lives of eminent scientists is important as not only do we learn about them, we also have the opportunity to see that we can be like this too.

This would be a great book to use for:

Night of the notables

Sustainability – why we need to act now.

Literacy –

Teacher notes can be found here:



  1. Rachel Carson’s Sea trilogy books are absolute favourites, entertaining and informative to read, so unlike nonfiction texts because of her great appreciation for language, which in combination with her passion for the sea and everything that lives within its ecosystem makes reading her work such a pleasure.

    I came across her 5 years ago when looking for a lyrical nature writer, who had written about the sea, and found a little known book written in 1941, obscured by the outbreak of war, called Under the Sea-Wind by Rachel Carson. It had begun as a pamphlet she’d written for her job wt the Fisheries and Wildlife Service, but told to rewrite as it was too literary. Her boss told her not to throw it away though, but to send it to the Atlantic Monthly.

    Having a passionate female marine biologist with a literary turn of phrase, write for us about the sea, the shore and the wonderful creatures living within it, all of this appreciation we can then understand how it turns into a kind of horror as she witnesses the exploitation and poisoning of our mother-sea and sister-rivers, by those who have little idea of the interconnectedness of life.

    Thanks for profiling this wonderful role model, I hope you get to read her sea trilogy books and/or inspire others to consider reading them too.

    Liked by 1 person

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