Who Is This Man?

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Take a quick poll among your friends and see how many people can tell you who Norman Borlaug is and then see if the same people know who Ashlee Simpson is. Then come back and try to convince me why society isn’t doomed.

One would think that saving a billion lives in developing countries, winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and being regarded in many parts of the world as among the leading Americans of this age would be enough to make someone a household name within America.

And yet, very few Americans would be able to say who Norman Borlaug is, leave alone list any of his groundbreaking accomplishments in solving the problems of world hunger.

Borlaug, now in his late eighties, is a plant breeder who was born in Iowa, in 1914. The vast majority of his professional life has been spent living and working in the developing countries of the world–Mexico, Pakistan, India, China, and most recently, regions of Africa.

Seemingly indefatigable, he still holds a position at Texas A&M, where he is Distinguished Professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Department and teaches classes on occasion. He received the Nobel in 1970, primarily in recognition for his work in reversing the chronic food shortages suffered by India and Pakistan in the 1960s.

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