‘Father Of Hybrid Rice’ Yuan Longping Wins Mahathir Science Award

The ‘Father of hybrid rice,’ Professor Yuan Longping, has been conferred the 2011 Mahathir Science Award on January 31 this year.

AsianScientist (Feb. 2, 2012) – The ‘Father of hybrid rice,’ Professor Yuan Longping, has been conferred the 2011 Mahathir Science Award on January 31 this year at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, Malaysia.

The Award, given out annually by the Mahathir Science Award Foundation (MSAF), was presented by former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and witnessed by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili; Chairman of MSAF, Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid; and President of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, Tan Sri Dr. Ahmad Tajuddin Ali FASc .

Yuan won the award in recognition of his contributions to rice breeding, resulting in the innovative development of hybrid rice, a staple food of the tropics that has revolutionized global rice production and sustainability.

The disastrous famine in China from 1958 to 1961 led Yuan to focus his research on the development of high-yielding rice. By then, he had given up his experiments on asexual crossing and begun using artificial hybridization to develop new rice varieties. Observing the results of hybridization in corn, he developed the novel idea of utilizing hybrids to increase rice yield.

Over the years, the award has been awarded to five recipients, carrying with it a cash prize of RM100,000 (US$33,000), a gold medal, and a certificate.

During his speech at the ceremony, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad called on scientists to develop products suitable for use outside of tropical countries such as Malaysia.

“We have to ensure what we produce here can be resilient worldwide. For example, Malaysia produces Proton which has been successfully tested in a cold country like Sweden,” Dr. Mohamad said.

“On the contrary, hybrid technology used in cars from certain other countries cannot function as well as it is supposed to, here,” he said.


Source: MOSTI.
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