Margaret Mead was one of the most prominent cultural anthropologists of the 20th century and a celebrated popularizer of science. A controversial public intellectual, she applied theories of primitive societies to contemporary culture, influencing progressive social movements including feminism and environmentalism.

Science studies scholar Rae Goodell called Mead the people's anthropologist and profiled her in The Visible Scientists (1975) as one of a coterie of American researchers, including Carl Sagan and Linus Pauling, who popularized and explained scientific issues for mass audiences during the mid-20th century.

Born on December 16, 1901, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mead was the eldest daughter in an academic family where her father was an economics professor and her mother had trained as a sociologist. She went to DePauw University for a year before ...

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