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Thoughts on food and food for thought August 24, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in general, ideas.

Ever thought who might be one of the contenders for being the greatest benefactor i.e. who did the greatest good for humanity ? I would immediately have thought of scientists and their inventions – typically vaccinations, X-ray or something related to the medical field.

A child of the Iowa prairie during the Great Depression, he attended a one-room school and aspired to become a high-school science teacher but flunked the university entrance exam. He went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for averting malnutrition, famine and the death of millions.

This is quoting him:

Both the need for additional agricultural production and obstacles to innovation remain, and in recent years, Borlaug has applied himself to ensuring the success of the application of gene splicing, or “genetic modification,” to agriculture. This second wave promises to be as important as the first, offering the possibility of even higher yields, fewer inputs of agricultural chemicals and water, enhanced nutrition and even plant-derived, orally active vaccines.

Environmental extremists, though, are doing everything they can to stop scientific progress, and their allies in the United Nations and other regulatory agencies are eager to help. “If the naysayers do manage to stop agricultural biotechnology, they might actually precipitate the famines and the crisis of global biodiversity they have been predicting for nearly 40 years,” says Borlaug,

Read this wonderful profile of Norman Borlaug here. Linked from here.

Yeah, we in India know him as the Father of Green Revolution but not sure his name would have strike to us as being in top few names of the greatest benefactors of humanity.

I think a topic like that would be good one for group discussions. Many years ago in Nov 2001 when I conducted a group discussion at KREC, I choose the topic of what might be the greatest invention of this century. The point ofcourse isnt to see what is the right answer ( because its rather subjective and several things are interrelated ) but to see what are perhaps the top 5-10 – such a list would be more stable and be more agreeable. Quite engaging it was, the discussion.



1. happyjuggler0 - September 3, 2006

This is another interview with Norman Borlaug as well.

Also, for those who liked the reason magazine interview with him, this is a partial listing of other notable reason interviews with other subjects.

2. Sharath Rao - September 4, 2006

Wow happyjuggler0 !!

Great to have you here 🙂

and thanks..that looks like a treasure trove there…so many interviews with thinking ppl.

3. happyjuggler0 - September 5, 2006

This is another review of the Norman Borlaug biography.

4. Sharath Rao - September 7, 2006

Thanks again happyjuggler0 ..

Especially liked this part – You may be forgiven for not remembering, given some of the prize’s dubious recipients over the years (e.g., Yasser Arafat).


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