The National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines joins the world community in mourning the death last September 12 of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug.
Dr. Borlaug was considered “The Father of the Green Revolution” for his contributions to the development of high-yielding crop varieties and introducing agricultural innovations to the developing world. He earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his significant work in stabilizing global food security and averting widespread famine.
NAST elected Dr. Borlaug as honorary member on March 10, 2000 to become the first and only eminent scientist to hold the distinction from the Philippine government’s highest recognition and advisory body on science and technology.
He was guest speaker for the Dioscoro L. Umali Lecture Series at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Manila over nine years ago and spoke on “Global Food Security–Harnessing Science and Technology in the 21st Century.”
In 1999, the University of the Philippines also conferred on Dr. Borlaug the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa.
He was widely credited for his scientific and humanitarian contributions in reducing world hunger for more than 70 years.
For about 20 years, the geneticist and plant pathologist led an interdisciplinary scientific research effort under a joint program of the Mexican government and Rockefeller Foundation. The research produced high-yielding, short-strawed, disease-resistant wheat varieties.
Dr. Borlaug strongly pushed for adoption of the new wheat strains in Mexico, India and Pakistan, and then in Latin America, the Middle East, and in Africa.
When he served as director of the International Wheat Program of International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center for seven years, Dr. Borlaug developed a training program that taught 1,940 young scientists from more than 16 countries in research and production methods.
The Green Revolution that Dr. Borlaug led was believed to have saved as many as one billion people from severe food shortage, and enabled countries like India and Pakistan to be self-sufficient on food.
Dr. Borlaug never retired, but persisted in guiding researches, training and inspiring scientists worldwide in the fight against hunger. He recently mobilized the international wheat community to control stem rust, which threatens the global wheat supply.
He was recipient of numerous academic, scientific, achievement and meritorious service awards, and honorary life memberships from the US government and many other US and international scientific and academic institutions.
Dr. Borlaug was born March 25, 1914 in Cresco, Iowa. He obtained his BS in Forestry, and MS and PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of Minnesota in 1937, 1940, and 1942, respectively. Dr. Borlaug was a distinguished professor of international agriculture at the University of Texas A&M. He died last September 12 in Dallas, Texas at age 95.