WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2017—Four scientists have been named to the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Science Hall of Fame for their innovative and impactful scientific contributions to our nation and the world.
Stephen O. Duke, Ernest James Harris, Terry A. Howell and Steven C. Huber will be honored today in a ceremony at the ARS National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland. ARS established the Science Hall of Fame in 1986 to honor senior agency researchers for outstanding, lifelong achievements in agricultural science and technology.
"These scientists have become international leaders in their fields by thinking creatively and developing innovative strategies addressing some of the most significant challenges facing agriculture today," said ARS Administrator Chavonda Jacobs-Young. "The unique skills, dedication, insight and hard work demonstrated by these scientists and by others like them, are why ARS continues to be a world leader in agricultural research."
Stephen O. Duke is an internationally recognized expert on weed management and biopesticides, and his research has led to seminal findings on how herbicides work and the potential for using natural products as herbicides. Duke's discoveries have advanced scientific understanding regarding the modes of action of mosquito repellants, antimalarial compounds and natural compounds that control algae, fungi and mollusks. His work also has contributed to private sector efforts focused on using natural compounds in herbicides. His extensive international efforts include recommendations to South American governments on herbicide use that are now being used to reduce cocaine production in Columbia.
Ernest James Harris is an international leader in developing methods for controlling tephritid fruit flies that threaten crops around the world. He played an instrumental role in devising an approach for developing sterile Mediterranean fruit flies in time to control the first invasion into California in the 1970s, and the technique has effectively controlled the pest ever since. He also has worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development to control Medflies in Tunisia and Morocco. Harris also developed innovative techniques for mass rearing a beneficial wasp for use as a biocontrol (Fopius arisamus) that were so successful, they have been used to control fruit flies in Mexico, Africa, Israel, Brazil and several island nations in the South Pacific.
Terry A. Howell is known for his contributions toward saving water by developing strategies for measuring and calculating the precise water needs of a wide variety of crops. His work has also focused on developing irrigation weather networks and theories that can save water by providing daily crop water use data for precise irrigation scheduling. He also has been instrumental in developing advanced sprinkler and pressurized microirrigation systems for efficient water application. His approaches are helping to conserve water in areas with shrinking water supplies and sustaining rural economies by reducing water needs and millions of dollars in pumping costs. They have been particularly effective with a variety of crops in California, Texas, other Southwestern states, and in the Southern and Central Great Plains. Pressurized irrigation systems now cover 65 percent of all of the irrigated cropland in the United States.
Steven C. Huber is recognized as an international expert on carbohydrate metabolism in plants, and his research has brought about a paradigm shift in the scientific understanding of plant metabolism, essentially defining how plants metabolize nutrients and regulate their growth. Huber's research has provided scientists around the world with valuable insight into the signaling pathways that control plant growth, the importance of hormones in plant development and the underpinnings of how plants use enzymes to perform vital functions. His discoveries regarding biological processes are providing promising targets for increasing crop plant growth, and his findings regarding plant genes are helping the growing number of scientists who now work with precision gene-editing tools to develop better crops.
For more information contact Dennis O'Brien, ARS Office of Communications.
The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.