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13 Iowans Who Made The World A Better Place

The Hawkeye State has a rich history of fostering citizens with a natural inclination for innovation. And by joining the NextGen Climate #50by30 coalition, you can join the movement to help change the clean energy conversation.

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1. Lee de Forest

Known by some as "the father of radio," de Forest was born in Council Bluffs and earned notoriety for inventing a device called the audion. This vacuum tube was the first of its kind to amplify electrical signals and eventually served an important function within radios, televisions, and computers.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Known by some as "the father of radio," de Forest was born in Council Bluffs and earned notoriety for inventing a device called the audion. This vacuum tube was the first of its kind to amplify electrical signals and eventually served an important function within radios, televisions, and computers.

2. Amelia Bloomer

Another Council Bluffs resident, Bloomer was a prominent figure in the women's rights movement. Her progressive attitude toward the standard dress code for women at the time led to longstanding associations with the garment that shares her name.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Another Council Bluffs resident, Bloomer was a prominent figure in the women's rights movement. Her progressive attitude toward the standard dress code for women at the time led to longstanding associations with the garment that shares her name.

3. Mary Beth Tinker

Hailing from Des Moines, Tinker became an advocate for free speech at an early age. Her peaceful protest in response to the Vietnam War even resulted in a Supreme Court decision that helped pave the way for greater students' rights across the country.
E.W. Scripps School of Journalism (CC BY-SA 2.0) / Via Flickr: scrippsjschool

Hailing from Des Moines, Tinker became an advocate for free speech at an early age. Her peaceful protest in response to the Vietnam War even resulted in a Supreme Court decision that helped pave the way for greater students' rights across the country.

4. Aldo Leopold

Leopold must have been struck by the beauty in his hometown of Burlington. His love of the natural world inspired a lifelong career dedicated to protecting and conserving wildlife.
USFS Region 5 (CC BY 2.0) / Via Flickr: usfsregion5

Leopold must have been struck by the beauty in his hometown of Burlington. His love of the natural world inspired a lifelong career dedicated to protecting and conserving wildlife.

5. George Washington Carver

Although not an Iowa native, Carver was the first African-American student to graduate from Iowa State University. In addition to breaking down racial barriers, he also contributed extensive agricultural research with a focus on eco-friendly practices.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Although not an Iowa native, Carver was the first African-American student to graduate from Iowa State University. In addition to breaking down racial barriers, he also contributed extensive agricultural research with a focus on eco-friendly practices.

6. Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie

Omlie spent the bulk of her childhood in Des Moines before taking to the skies in the fight for women's equality. She was the first woman to secure an airplane mechanics license and ultimately used her skills in aviation to level the playing field in an industry dominated by men.
Public.Resource.Org (CC BY 2.0) / Via Flickr: publicresourceorg

Omlie spent the bulk of her childhood in Des Moines before taking to the skies in the fight for women's equality. She was the first woman to secure an airplane mechanics license and ultimately used her skills in aviation to level the playing field in an industry dominated by men.

7. Robert Noyce

Without Noyce, the world of Silicon Valley as we know it might not exist. This Burlington-born inventor of the integrated circuit used his propensity for computer technology to change the face of the digital world in ways that few others could have imagined.
Intel Free Press (CC BY-SA 2.0) / Via Flickr: intelfreepress

Without Noyce, the world of Silicon Valley as we know it might not exist. This Burlington-born inventor of the integrated circuit used his propensity for computer technology to change the face of the digital world in ways that few others could have imagined.

8. James Van Allen

Van Allen shaped the future of our planet by looking far beyond its borders. The astrophysicist from Mount Pleasant is credited with significant discoveries regarding the Earth's magnetic field and its subsequent implications on space exploration.
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9. Eppie Lederer

If you don't recognize her real name, that's because you may be more familiar with her pen name "Ann Landers." Raised in Sioux City, the popular columnist offered personalized advice that helped countless readers over the course of her writing career.
Archive Photos / Getty Images

If you don't recognize her real name, that's because you may be more familiar with her pen name "Ann Landers." Raised in Sioux City, the popular columnist offered personalized advice that helped countless readers over the course of her writing career.

10. Wallace Hume Carothers

It's hard to imagine a world without parachutes, automobiles, or any number of other items that often contain some percentage of nylon. For that, we have Carothers to thank. The chemist from Burlington was largely responsible for creating the now-ubiquitous synthetic polymer.
Frederic Lewis / Getty Images

It's hard to imagine a world without parachutes, automobiles, or any number of other items that often contain some percentage of nylon. For that, we have Carothers to thank. The chemist from Burlington was largely responsible for creating the now-ubiquitous synthetic polymer.

11. Carrie Chapman Catt

Catt had a longstanding connection to Charles City, the town where she grew up and later made substantial contributions for the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association. Her forward-thinking approach was instrumental in tearing down obstacles in the path toward gender equality.
New York Public Library / Getty Images

Catt had a longstanding connection to Charles City, the town where she grew up and later made substantial contributions for the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association. Her forward-thinking approach was instrumental in tearing down obstacles in the path toward gender equality.

12. George Gallup

Gallup, a native of Jefferson, revolutionized the way modern elections are approached and measured by employing a statistical model to the process of gauging public opinion.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Gallup, a native of Jefferson, revolutionized the way modern elections are approached and measured by employing a statistical model to the process of gauging public opinion.

13. Norman Borlaug

The highly lauded humanitarian from Cresco once said that "food is the moral right of all who are born into this world." His vision for food distribution, cultivation, and supply was valuable enough to earn him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.
Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

The highly lauded humanitarian from Cresco once said that "food is the moral right of all who are born into this world." His vision for food distribution, cultivation, and supply was valuable enough to earn him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.

With the help of forward-thinking Iowans, NextGen Climate's #50by30 goal calls on candidates to lay out a plan to power our country with more than 50% clean energy by 2030. Join the coalition today to help make the world a better place.

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