History's HEROES? Dated March 25, 1914 - September 12, 2009

Norman Borlaug

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Cresco, Iowa



    • Brave / Courageous
    • Has integrity (stands up for what they believe and act accordingly)
    • Perseverant / Tenacious (keeps going despite challenges)
    • Decisive
    • Inspiring / Charismatic
    • Determined
    • Ambitious
    • Kind and compassionate
    • Just and fair minded

    External link

    Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation


    "I realize how fortunate I was to have been born, to have grown to manhood, and to have received my early education in rural Iowa. That heritage provided me with a set of values that has been an invaluable guide to me in my work around the world... These values ... have been of great strength in times of despair in my struggle to assist in improving the standards of living of rural people everywhere." - Dr. Borlaug

    The man who fed the world

    was an American biologist, humanitarian and Nobel laureate who has been called "the father of the Green Revolution","agriculture's greatest spokesperson" and "The Man Who Saved A Billion Lives".

    Norman Ernest Borlaug was an American biologist, humanitarian and Nobel laureate who has been called "the father of the Green Revolution", "agriculture's greatest spokesperson" and "The Man Who Saved A Billion Lives". He is one of seven people to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal and was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honor. Borlaug received his B.Sc. Biology 1937 and Ph.D. in plant pathology and genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1942. He took up an agricultural research position in Mexico, where he developed semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties. During the mid-20th century, Borlaug led the introduction of these high-yielding varieties combined with modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan, and India. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving the food security in those nations. These collective increases in yield have been labeled the Green Revolution, and Borlaug is often credited with saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply. Later in his life, he helped apply these methods of increasing food production to Asia and Africa.

    Life in Norman Borlaug's world

    To finance his studies, Borlaug had to put his education on hold periodically to take a job. One of these jobs, in 1935, was as a leader in the Civilian Conservation Corps, working with the unemployed on U.S. federal projects. Many of the people who worked for him were starving. He later recalled, "I saw how food changed them ... All of this left scars on me". From 1935 to 1938, before and after receiving his Bachelor of Science in forestry in 1937, Borlaug worked for the United States Forest Service at stations in Massachusetts and Idaho. He spent one summer in the middle fork of Idaho's Salmon River, the most isolated piece of wilderness in the lower 48 states at the time.

    Was Norman Borlaug a Hero?

    • Oh.. just maybe the fact that he saved over a billion lives

    Things you might not know about Norman Borlaug

    Borlaug was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.

    He met his future wife, Margaret Gibson, as he waited tables at a university Dinkytown coffee shop where they both worked.

    They had three children, Norma Jean "Jeanie" Laube, Scotty (who died soon after birth from spina bifida), and William Borlaug; five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

    On March 8, 2007, Margaret Borlaug died at the age of 95, following a fall. They had been married for 69 years.



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