USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

–Called the “Father of the Green Revolution”

–Using research in plant genetics, he developed high-yielding, disease-resistant strains of wheat and other crops to dramatically increase food production in poor, developing countries

–Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work

In addition to being called the “Father of the Green Revolution”, American agricultural scientist Norman Borlaug also became known as the “The Man Who Saved A Billion Lives” through his work. During the mid-20th century, Norman — who was born and raised on his grandparents’ farm in Iowa and later earned his Ph.D. in Genetics and Plant Pathology from the University of Minnesota — developed a sturdy strain of high-yielding, semi-dwarf, disease-resistant wheat varieties. After introducing this strain to farmers with much success in Mexico where he was employed as an agricultural researcher, he made his innovations with other crop strains and production techniques available in Pakistan and India with equal success. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving the food security in those nations as well as in China and Africa. These collective increases in yield have been labeled the Green Revolution, and Norman is often credited with saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply. He died in 2009 at age 95 in Dallas, TX.

To read the full biography of Norman Borlaug and other role models in science and engineering, click here.

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