Science and Food Supply


    IN a celebrated address to the British Association in 1898, Sir William Crookes, discussing what lie called the “Wheat Problem”, predicted a world shortage of 17 million bushels of wheat in 1931, and went on to assert: “it is the chemist who must come to the rescue of the threatened communities. It is through the laboratory that starvation may ultimately be turned into plenty.” The warning was dramatic, and created something of a sensation at the time. The anxiety, it is true, was not shared by such agricultural authorities as Sir John Bennett Lawes and Sir J. Henry Gilbert, but they would have been the first to endorse all that Sir William Crookes said about the importance of the scientific worker in securing the maximum return in agriculture.

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    Science and Food Supply. Nature 126, 193–194 (1930).

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