Letter to the Editor

By on August 9th, 2019 in Letters to the Editor, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Acknowledging George Washington Carver

Dear Editor:

In her Last Word column, “Post Tenebras, Lux: An Awakening,” in the March 2019 issue of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, Christine Perakslis mentions how peanuts and other crops transformed southeastern agriculture following the infestation of cotton crops by boll weevils. Professor Perakslis should have noted that George Washington Carver of the Tuskegee Institute performed the seminal research that was the basis of this success.

As with every engineering effort, agriculture advances depend on the knowledge and dedication of the people involved. It is especially important that SSIT not lose sight of individual and team contributions to society during the course of their engineering careers.

Sincerely, Larry Gadeken


Author Response:

The primary source (e.g., seminal) is often best to utilize. Yet, with respect to our Technology and Society Magazine readership, to the spirit and purpose of The Last Word column, and (perhaps most of all) to constraints for this particular column relative to word count/space, I chose the secondary sources so as to provide the reader with an interpretation, as well as a collection, of research of the history under discussion.

Wonderfully, one of those secondary sources not only featured and honored George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute, but also other various key sources, and even sources whose authors have been relegated to anonymous status (very unfortunately). I am hopeful that our younger readership will learn a bit about less known American history from the brief analogy I utilized, and therefore will join us in honoring all such men as George Washington Carver and their marvelous contributions to society!

Thank you to Mr. Gadeken for his comments.

Christine Perakslis