Borlaug, Norman (Ernest)(1914– ) microbiologist, agronomist; born in Cresco, Iowa. In 1942 he directed pesticide research for E. I. DuPont Nemours and Company in Wilmington, Del. In 1944 he developed a disease-free strain of wheat for the Rockefeller Foundation and the Mexican Agricultural Ministry to remedy the severe Mexican wheat crop failures. In 1954 he crossed a Japanese dwarf wheat strain with the new Mexican strain for a higher-yield strain with a shorter stem; the seeds were distributed to Mexican farmers in 1961. From 1964–79 he directed the International Wheat Research and Production Program at the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center). During this period, he launched the "green revolution" for which he won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for "help(ing) to provide bread for a hungry world." Beginning in 1981 he was a consultant to CIMMYT. In 1984 he became a professor of international agriculture at Texas A & M University and in 1988 he became president of the Sasakawa Africa Association and leader of the Global 2000 Agricultural Programs in Africa. His books include The Green Revolution, Peace and Humanity (1971) and Food Production in a Fertile, Unstable World (1978).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.