Swaminathan: Pursue science with humanism

Published on Hindu.com, by special correspondent, Sept. 19, 2009.

CHENNAI: The best way to keep alive the legacy of Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug, the “farm boy from Iowa” whose pioneering work averted millions of hunger deaths in the world, is for young researchers to pursue science with humanism, agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan said on Friday …

… Five-point strategy:  

  • His experience in gritting out the Great Depression of the 1930s must have also shaped Dr. Borlaug’s five-point strategy in life — to “give your best,” “believe you can succeed,” “face adversity squarely,” “be confident you will find the answers when problems arise” and “then go out and win some bouts.”
  • Retracing his close association with the man who helped to trigger the Green Revolution in India at a time in the 1960s of doomsday famine forecasts for a country that existed “ship-to-mouth,” Dr. Swaminathan described Dr. Borlaug as an outspoken man who did not have double views on matters.
  • Gene pyramiding, gene deployment and shuttle breeding strategies to increase yield and develop leaf rust-resistant varieties were among Dr. Borlaug’s revolutionary contributions.
  • The man who devoted a lifetime fighting hunger was as concerned at the threat to agriculture from the virulent stem rust Ug99 as the challenge of enlarging the food basket by introducing new nutritious crops.
  • According to Dr. Swaminathan, the U.S. congressional gold medal winner carried a conviction about the synergy of technology and public policy. He believed that there had to be a substrate condition for technology to flourish.

… (full text).

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