Mobilizing Minds: Teaching Math and Science in the Age of Sputnik
Reform (page 1 of 2)
Some Americans were shocked and embarrassed to have lost the first leg of the "Space Race." Some feared that the same technology used to launch Sputnik might be used to deliver thermonuclear weapons. Scientists, politicians, and the popular press attributed the Soviet success to superior education. They called for better science and mathematics education for American children.
Responding to this appeal, authors wrote a wide range of children's books showcasing technical subjects. Moreover, in 1958 the U.S. Congress passed the National Defense Education Act. This legislation authorized the expenditure of over one billion dollars to improve education in mathematics, the sciences, and foreign languages.
Corky in Orbit by Naomi Zimmerman and Ruth Schuyler, 1962
Mathematics: The Story of Numbers, Symbols and Space, 1958, and The Wonders of Physics, 1966, by Irving Adler
The following year, the publisher Golden Press started "The Golden Library of Knowledge," a series of inexpensive children's books. Some volumes discussed topics in history and nature that had long interested the publisher. Others, including Mathematics: The Story of Numbers, broke new ground for the press. The book included discussion of prime numbers, the Pythagorean theorem, probability, and mathematical proof. Adler also wrote more advanced books, such as the illustrated introduction to physics shown.