The Passing of Norman Borlaug

The world has lost a true hero today – the man credited with saving more human lives than anyone else in history.

Norman Borlaug was dubbed the “Father of the Green Revolution” for his work creating high yielding varieties of wheat and rice which massively increased agricultural productivity in Latin America and Asia. Borlaug’s work is credited with saving over a billion people from starvation.

According to,  Borlaug was the recipient of :

–Nobel Peace Prize, 1970
–Election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, 1970
–Aztec Eagle, Government of Mexico, 1970
–Outstanding Agricultural Achievement Award, World Farm Foundation (USA), 1971
–Presidential Medal of Freedom (USA), 1977
–Jefferson Award, American Institute for Public Service, 1980
–Distinguished Achievement Award in Food and Agricultural Sciences, Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (USA), 1982
–The Presidential World without Hunger Award: Educator/Scientist category (USA), 1985
–The Americas Award, The Americas Foundation (USA), 1998
–Jefferson Lifetime Achievement Award (USA), 1997
–Altruistic Green Revolution Award, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, 1998
–Recognition Award for Contributions to World Wheat and Maize Research and Production, Republic of El Salvador, 1999
–Dedication of Norman E. Borlaug Center for Southern Crop Improvement, Texas A&M University, 1999
–Vannevar Bush Award, National Science Foundation (USA), 2000
–Memorial Centennial Medial of the N.I. Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry (Russia), 2000
–Public Welfare Medal, National Academy of Sciences (USA), 2002
–The Rotary International Award for World Understanding and Peace; Barcelona, Spain, 2002
–The Philip Hauge Abelson Prize, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2002
–Award for Distinguished Achievements to Science and Medicine, American Council of Science and Health, 2003
–National Medal of Science (USA), 2004
–Padma Vibhushan in Science and Engineering, awarded by the Government of India, 2006
–Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture created as part of the Texas A&M University System, 2006
–Congressional Gold Medal, received 2007
–Texas A&M University honorary doctor of letters degree, 2007 (Borlaug received more than 50 honorary degrees in his career.)

Borlaug was also the inspiration behind the World Food Prize, “the foremost international award recognizing — without regard to race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs — the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.”

New York Times coverage here.

I couldn’t agree more with the Wall Street Journal’s conclusion in their tribute to Borlaug: “In saving so many, Borlaug showed that a genuine green movement doesn’t pit man against the Earth, but rather applies human intelligence to exploit the Earth’s resources to improve life for everyone.”


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