The answers from Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, two of the most important scientists of the 20th century, would have been very different.
India is now the world’s most populous nation of 1.42 billion surpassing China. In November 2022, the world population touched 8 billion. How to feed 10 billion people by 2050 with lesser natural resources, is a subject that has fascinated award-winning US science journalist and writer Charles C Mann. It was the central question of his 2018 book The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World, examined through the life and work of two contemporaneous American scientists with competing visions William Vogt and Norman Borlaug. Vogt was the father of modern environmentalism while Borlaug’s role in ushering in the Green Revolution through crops that yielded significantly more may be better known in India. The Plate’s Managing Editor Aarthi Ramachandran spoke to Mann about these two influential figures and what their prescription to feed the world’s most populous nation might be.