Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009

Norman Borlaug

I never met Dr. Norman Borlaug, the Nobel Prize–winning plant scientist who did more than anyone in history to fight hunger, but I've admired him for years. When I started learning about agricultural development, his name came up so often that I felt as if he were my teacher. He began his career in the 1940s, helping Mexican farmers increase their yields almost sixfold by breeding better seeds. Over the next 40 years, that success spread throughout Latin America and Asia. The Green Revolution, as Dr. Borlaug's life's work is called, cut global hunger in half. Some critics say the world's efforts to improve poor people's lives are doomed. But Dr. Borlaug is proof that large-scale progress is possible. He is a genuine hero, and his story should make us optimistic about the future.

—Bill Gates

Gates is a co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation