Rachel Carson: The Pioneering Scientist Who Changed Pesticide Use

Email a Friend
From and

Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear this interview. 

Discovered in 1939, DDT became the pesticide of choice for battling deadly insects. Swiss scientist Paul Hermann Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for discovering DDT.

But in 1962, Rachel Carson, a marine biologist, published the book "Silent Spring," which warned of the harmful effects of pesticides like DDT and called for a more holistic approach in controlling insect populations. Carson's warnings were panned by scientists and the media — TIME magazine wrote that Carson's book was an "emotional and inaccurate outburst."

But our partners at the Retro Report documentary team, in a co-production with WGBH's American Experience, found that Carson's approach is being used today in the fight against the Zika virus. Kit Roane and Sarah Weiser, producers with the Retro Report documentary team, weigh in on Carson's legacy.