The Greatest Living American Honored

Ken AshfordScience & TechnologyLeave a Comment

…and chances are you’ve never heard of him.

Norman Borlaug was honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor yesterday, to go nicely with the Nobel Peace Prize that he received in 1970.

What did you do to earn these honors?

Oh, he only saved a billion lives, that’s all.

None of the papers covered it, so I thought I would give the man a nod.

Borlaug created a new strain of wheat.  Dwarf wheat.

What’s the big deal?  Well, back in the 1930’s and 1940’s, India and other developing countries were facing an agricultural crisis.  They could grow wheat, but the stalks of the wheat were so tall and heavy that they collapsed on themsselves, virtually annihalating the crop.  This was leading to massive starvation.

Borlaug came along and perfected the science behind a new strain of wheat — dwarf wheat — and he cut through international red tape to see that developing countries were able to produce it.  His work saved — literally — billions of lives.

They should build statues for guys like that.