NSF PR 00-21 (NSB 00-88) - April 12, 2000
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Two Statesmen of Science Are First of the New Century
to Receive the Vannevar Bush Award
The National Science Board (NSB) has taken the unprecedented
step of naming two renowned scientists to receive
the coveted Vannevar Bush Award for lifetime achievement
in science and public service. This is the first time
in its 20-year history that the award is being given
to more than one person.
Norman E. Borlaug, a 1970 Nobel Peace Prize-winning
agronomist who led the agricultural movement to increase
food production in developing countries, is one of
the Vannevar Bush honorees. A 1997 Atlantic Monthly
profile said that Borlaug's work to expand global
food production at a rate faster than the growth in
human population "may have prevented a billion deaths."
Borlaug will be honored at an NSB dinner May 3 hosted
at the Department of State.
Herbert F. York, a nuclear physicist, will receive
the other award for his work in nuclear energy and
for leadership in the arms control movement.
York's contributions were marked by the merging of
scientific advance- ment with public policy that emphasizes
social responsibility. He will also be honored at
the NSB's May dinner event.
The Vannevar Bush Award pays tribute to a senior statesperson
and pioneer in science and technology who has a distinguished
record in public service, or whose achievements contribute
to the nation and mankind. These century-spanning
scientists, whose work covered more than half the
century just concluded, are still active.
Borlaug is a distinguished professor of international
agriculture at Texas A&M University, teaching graduate
students and doing guest lectures. He also spends
nearly six months a year near Mexico City as a consultant
to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
Known widely as the "father of the green revolution,"
Borlaug taught and employed methods to increase wheat
production around the world, "saving more lives than
any other person who has ever lived," said the Atlantic
Monthly article on Borlaug in January 1997. His Nobel
Prize in 1970 recognized his contributions to reversing
widespread food shortages in India and Pakistan the
York is professor and director emeritus for the Institute
on Global Conflict and Cooperation located at the
University of California, San Diego, an organization
he founded in 1983. Over nearly a half century, York's
list of firsts put him near the top of the scientific
leader board: first director of the Lawrence Livermore
Laboratory from 1952-58; co-founder and first chief
scientist of the Advanced Research Projects Agency
(1958); member of the first President's Science Advisor
Committee (1958-61); first chancellor of the University
of California at San Diego (1961-64); and member of
the First Advisory Committee on Arms Control (1962-69).
York's leadership in designing sophisticated nuclear
weapons, then becoming a leading voice in arms control
and disarmament, moved the U.S. from responding to
a "missile gap" to leading the discussions toward
disarmament as a next logical stage in national security.
See also: Fact
Sheet on Vannevar Bush Award