He may have saved a billion people from starvation , but, if you asked a random sample of reasonably well educated Americans who Norman Borlaug was, they’d probably answer, “Norman who?”
I’ll tell you Norman who. His biographer, Leon Hesser, called him the Man Who Fed the World . Science reporter Gregg Easterbrook called him the Forgotten Benefactor of Humanity . I’ve called him a Modern Prometheus . And comedians Penn and Teller said (well, mostly Penn said) that he was the greatest human being who ever lived.
Norman Borlaug was an American agricultural scientist and plant breeder whose work sparked what is now known as the Green Revolution. He was recognized with countless scientific and humanitarian awards, including, in 1970, the Nobel Peace Price . Quite tragically, he died of cancer yesterday, at the age of 95 .
Borlaug was born on a small farm in Crespo, Iowa in 1914 and developed an interest in applying science and technology to agriculture during the Depression-era dustbowl that desiccated the Great Plains in the first half of the 1930s. He went off to study forestry and plant pathology — and compete on the wrestling team — at the University of Minnesota in 1933. He eventually would complete a Master’s and Ph.D. at the U of M, after brief stints with the U.S. Forest Service that periodically interrupted his studies. After completing his Ph.D. in 1942, Borlaug worked for two years at DuPont, contributing scientific research for the war effort. > READ THE FULL BLOG POST.