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Seeds, Survival, Stalin

Saturday, May 31, 2008
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Nearly 100 years ago, Russian geneticist Nikolai Vavilov — recognized today as the “father of biodiversity” — created the world’s first seed bank with the dream of ending famine and hunger. Persecuted by Stalin, Vavilov was thrown into a Communist jail and died before he could enact his grand vision, but his groundbreaking discoveries triggered a global revolution in agriculture that continues today.

Peter Pringle, acclaimed journalist and author of The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov, joined Robert Goodman, Executive Dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University, to explore strategies for ensuring the survival of the planet’s botanical heritage in the face of potentially catastrophic global threats. Award-winning science writer Carl Zimmer moderated.


Carl ZimmerJournalist, Author

Carl Zimmer is an award-winning columnist for the New York Times and the author of 13 books about science. His reporting has earned awards from the National Academies of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and the Online Journalism Association.

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Robert GoodmanExecutive Dean at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences

A plant biologist and virologist by training, Robert Goodman is a world authority on soil microorganisms and plant disease.

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Peter PringleAuthor

Peter Pringle is the author of The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov and co-author of nine previous books. His book, Food Inc., traced the history of biotech agriculture. The former Moscow bureau chief for The Independent, he has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and The Nation.

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Edward TothDirector of the Greenbelt Native Plant Center

A leading authority on landscape management and plant conservation, Edward Toth is Director of the Greenbelt Native Plant Center, which collects and raises specimens of New York’s indigenous flora and maintains a seed bank for the preservation of local species.

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