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January 05

George Washington Carver Photo Credit: Library of Congress. Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection.

Today in Science

Peanut Pioneer Passes Away

On this day in 1943, George Washington Carver, botanist and inventor, died. Born into slavery in 1860s Missouri, he became the first African American to enter Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now Iowa State University).

In addition to his career as a professor, he worked on ways of replacing nitrogen in soil depleted by cotton overplanting, a problem facing many of his fellow Southerners, and particularly focused his attention on crop rotation. He also worked to invent things that could be developed from the agricultural products rotated into the fields where cotton had been grown. By the time of his death, he had developed 325 products from peanuts and 108 from sweet potatoes, as well as pecan-based 75 products.

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