What Others are Saying: Honoring Dr. Norman Borlaug
The world lost an important scientist and humanitarian over the weekend. Dr. Norman Borlaug, an acclaimed scientist, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and founder of the Green Revolution is remembered not only for his scientific gifts in helping to increase food yields for hunger alleviation but also for mentoring young scientists.
According to his biography on the Nobel Web Site, Borlaug was born on a farm in Cresco, IA in 1914 and was a pragmatic scientist, interested in seeing the fruits of his scientific endeavors bring tangible results to the world particularly in regards to alleviating the world's hunger problem. He founded the World Food Prize which recognizes achievements by individuals who work to alleviate poverty and hunger. Each year, the prize is awarded in Des Moines, IA in mid-October in conjunction with World Food Day on Oct. 16.
Scientists and supporters from around the nation recognize his achievements and humanitarian efforts. If you are a member of the media and would like to speak with any of these scientists about Dr. Borlaug and his influence on their work, please contact Ms. Ariel Gruswitz, email@example.com or 202.962.6672.
"The world will remember Norman Borlaug's for his lifelong dedication to improving the lives of the poor and malnourished. He was a brilliant scientist and great humanitarian who never wavered in his fight for the right of all people to food security. He will be missed."
Dr. Pamela Ronald, Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis and co-author of Tomorrow's
Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food.
"I join the world in mourning the loss of Norman Borlaug, a man who was not only a great scientist and innovator but also a humble and dedicated humanitarian whose sole purpose was to help others less fortunate than himself. His work has saved billions of lives and we can only hope that the path he has carved out for us will save billions more in the food crisis that looms before us."
Dr. Bruce M. Chassy, Professor of Food Sciences and Professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois-Urbana
"Dr. Borlaug was truly an inspirational leader in the ongoing struggle to feed the world. He dedicated his scientific mind and his compassionate heart to the benefit of all mankind. His agricultural technological advances have saved countless lives."
Dr. David R. Porter, Prof. Of Agronomy at Oklahoma State University
"I was Dr. Borlaug's host for a talk he gave at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists a couple of years back. His impact on the audience - young and old - was incalculable. Not only did he inspire by his accomplishments in the field but also by his dedication and compassion for those that were the target of his efforts. What greater legacy can he leave the plant sciences than to be an inspiration and model for the next generation of agricultural scientists?"
Dr. Peggy G. Lemaux, Prof. Of Plant and Microbial Biology at the University of California Berkeley
"The world would not be a pretty place today were it not for Dr. Borlaug's contributions. Today's problems with hunger and habitat destruction are but the tip of the iceberg of what we would have had otherwise. There would have deforestation and habitat loss on an unprecedented scale as a surging population struggled to eke out a living".
Dr. Wayne Parrott, Prof. Crop Genetics, University of Georgia – Athens
"The death of Dr. Norman Borlaug takes from us a great scholar and humanitarian whose impact on world food production will likely never be equaled. His plant breeding research to develop high yielding wheat has saved the lives of more people worldwide than any other person that has ever lived. His passing should be a challenge to all crop scientists to renew and focus our efforts to improve the welfare of the world through enhanced plant based food, feed, fiber and fuel production."
Dr. Kenneth H. Quesenberry, Prof. Of Agronomy at the University of Florida & 2009 President of the Crop Science Society of America
"Most of us would not even exist without the tremendous research of Dr. Norman Borlaug. His work has been key to improving crop yield and thus saving an incredible number of lives. His legacy remains - we will have to continue to have breakthroughs in plant biology research in order to keep up with the demand created by an ever increasing world population."
Dr. Wolf B. Frommer, Prof. of Plant Biology, Director at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, CA, USA
"The world is better because of Dr. Borlaug's work. Many more children are alive today, malnutrition has lessened, the future is better for perhaps a billion people."
Dean Kleckner, Chairman of Truth About Trade & Technology
"Dr. Norman Borlaug was simply one of the world's best. A determined, dedicated, but humble man who believed we had the collective duty and knowledge to eradicate hunger worldwide. His efforts saved millions of lives and inspired thousands to dedicate their lives to doing the same. The World Food Prize, which he founded, will continue to acknowledge those who carry on the work of providing food to feed the world. Dr. Borlaug will be missed."
Sec. Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
What the Media is Saying:
Washington Post, Staff Writers, 9/14/09
"More than any other single person of this age, he has helped provide bread for a hungry world," the Nobel committee said in honoring him. "Dr. Borlaug has introduced a dynamic factor into our assessment of the future and its potential."
Financial Times, Javier Blas, 9/14/09
Josette Sheeran, head of the United Nations World Food Programme, said he had "saved more lives than any man in human history". "His total devotion to ending famine and hunger revolutionised food security for millions of people."
The New York Times, Justin Gillis, 9/13/09
Gary H. Toenniessen, director of agricultural programs for the Rockefeller Foundation, said in an interview that Dr. Borlaug's great achievement was to prove that intensive, modern agriculture could be made to work in the fast-growing developing countries where it was needed most, even on the small farms predominating there.
By Mr. Toenniessen's calculation, about half the world's population goes to bed every night after consuming grain descended from one of the high-yield varieties developed by Dr. Borlaug and his colleagues of the Green Revolution.
"He knew what it was they needed to do, and he didn't give up," Mr. Toenniessen said. "He could just see that this was the answer."
Associated Press, 9/13/09
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said Sunday that Borlaug was "a true son of the Iowa soil." Iowa Gov. Chet Culver called Borlaug, "a true visionary" and U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin says Borlaug's "contributions changed the lives of countless Americans and saved billions around the world."
Former Iowa governor and U.S. Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack called Borlaug a "determined, dedicated, but humble man" and U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack said the scientist "was a native Iowa son who made immeasurable contributions to humankind."
LA Times, Thomas Maugh 9/14/09
On Borlaug's 90th birthday, former President Carter said that he "has been demonstrating practical ways to give people of the entire world a higher quality of life. . . . He is a true humanitarian."
Former South Dakota Sen. George McGovern added that Borlaug's "scientific leadership not only saved people from starvation, but the high-yield seeds he bred saved millions of square miles of wildlife from being plowed down. He is one of the great men of our age."
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