Presidents Day is an important day to remember the great achievements and contributions that our Presidents have made. Do Presidents have any impact on science?
George Washington, along with Thomas Paine, conducted a famous experiment in 1783 which proved that marsh gas was flammable. While this is, arguably, not a terribly impactful study today, it does cement Washington as a critical thinker and a person with a scientific mind, one that could analyze and deduce.
160 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln brought science to the United States government. He signed the Morrill Act
in 1862 which revolutionized higher education by creating a system of land grant college and universities such as MIT, Cornell, and Ohio State U. Lincoln also founded the National Academy of Sciences which advices the President and Congress on science and technology matters. Lincoln is also the only United States President to date to hold a patent. He invented a device that lifted boats over shoals.
President Benjamin Harrison was a wilderness champion, establishing the Grand Canyon National Park. President Grover Cleveland signed into law protection for the animals of Yellowstone National Park.
In the early 1900s, President Theodore Roosevelt established 5 new national parks. Roosevelt is often called the Conservation President because he wanted to ensure the protection of 150 million acres of forest land. Roosevelt created a 51 Federal Bird Reserves which became national wildlife refuges. The Roosevelt Elk, famous in the Redwood National Park, is named for him. The Roosevelt Arch in Yellowstone National Park is named for him also.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was integral in the development of the Hoover Dam, controlling the Colorado River and providing hydroelectric power to 1.3 million homes in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.
John F. Kennedy
President John F. Kennedy famously set the national goal of landing a man on the Moon in 1963, launching a wave of technology and exploration for the next 50+ years.
Which President did I leave off my list that you would have added?
Photos of Harrison and T. Roosevelt – These media files are in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1926, and if not then due to lack of notice or renewal. See this page for further explanation.
Photo of Kennedy – This file is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain.