Academic journal article The Science Teacher

The History of Science, in Real Life

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

The History of Science, in Real Life

Article excerpt

I recently had occasion to reflect on the life of my mother, who passed away this spring at the age of 95. She was born into a very different world in 1915 in rural Ohio, and during her life, she witnessed an incredible period of scientific and technological change. Things we take for granted today--antibiotics, television, and universal telephone and electric service--were nonexistent back then. The advent of personal computers, MP3 players, and cell phones was still 75 years away. My mother walked over a mile each way to school, and since there was no cafeteria, and certainly no fast-food restaurants, she made another trip home each day for lunch.

My mother lived to see men orbit the planet (astronaut John Glenn was born in her small Ohio town), walk on the moon, and send satellites to the most distant parts of the solar system. She saw astounding advances in science, medicine, and technology, but she also witnessed two world wars, countless regional conflicts, the development of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, and frightening local and global threats to the environment.

Even at age 95, my mother kept in touch with a wide group of friends and family by telephone and e-mail. Although she was born in a house without telephone or electricity, at 95, she was surfing the internet several times a day! She regularly listened to satellite radio, microwaved her dinner, used wireless telephones, and took Sunday drives using GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation. …

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