I discovered this article while trying to learn which, if any, of our Presidents had every been scientists as well. It was published recently by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The Union of Concerned Scientists recently ran a contest asking people to share their favorite science-friendly president with their friends and family and highlight the fact that science and democracy are indivisible.
Thousands of people responded, and Theodore Roosevelt topped the list, which can be found here. I expected Teddy R to be at the top of the list, but there were some things about our past Presidents I’d never heard I thought pretty cool:
- Abraham Lincoln was the only U.S. president to obtain a patent (for a device that could lift boats over shoals).
- Dwight Eisenhower helped educate a new generation of scientists and engineers via the National Defense Education Act.
- Thomas Jefferson sold 6,000 of his books, including many on science, to restock the Library of Congress after British forces destroyed it in the War of 1812.
- Aside form the National Parks he created, Roosevelt also established 51 federal bird preserves, and 150 national forests in response to growing scientific evidence that industrialization was threatening land and species.
- Richard Nixon worked with Congress to pass a new Endangered Species Act.
Overall, it was a quick, fun read that had a surprise or two in it. Take a look if you have the chance.