Triumph and Tragedy: Pittsburgh's History of Innovation in Science
This collection connects the 2019 National History Day theme of "Triumph and Tragedy in History" to a selection of topics related to Western Pennsylvania, science, and innovation. This region’s history features many stories of triumph over tragedy, including two key events: the creation of the polio vaccine at the University of Pittsburgh, and Rachel Carson’s fight against the detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment.
The first half of the collection focuses on the story of the polio vaccine, including context on the polio virus, movements to raise money for a cure, and Salk's work in Pittsburgh. It also mentions Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were used without permission for a range of medical advancements, including the polio vaccine.
The second half of the collection highlights Rachel Carson, her talent for writing and interest in animals as a child, how she came to be interested in the effects of DDT, and her legacy as an environmentalist.
These objects, images, and sources can be used to help form an idea for a project, provide a new angle on an existing project idea, or lead to new ways of including primary sources into NHD projects. They are drawn from a range of primary source repositories, which can be helpful sources of information for students working on these topics.
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