Prof. Jared M. Diamond

Prof. Jared M. Diamond Winner of Wolf Prize in Agriculture - 2013

The Wolf prize award selection committee recommends honoring two exceptional scientists that have made complementary, seminal contributions to fundamental challenges facing agriculture, namely the domestication and effective utilization of diverse biophysical resources to develop sustainable agricultural production systems and crops.

 

Professor Diamond operates at the macro level of societies, continents, plant and animal systems and contributed to the understanding of processes of domestication and their importance in shaping the evolution of agricultural and social systems, emphasizing the introduction of sustainable agricultural and natural resource management systems that recognize the interaction between agriculture and the environment. Professor Diamond has developed a multidisciplinary approach, melding knowledge and methods from biophysical and social sciences, to analyze the historical evolution of human societies across the globe. In his book, Guns Germs and Steel, his multidisciplinary approach shows how ecological and geographical differences between societies affected their domestication opportunities, their agricultural trajectory and other aspects of human evolution: spread of languages, evolution of epidemic diseases and collapse, survival and prosperity of societies. In his book Collapse he uses case studies to document that short-term decision-making ignoring natural resource dynamics that may lead to agricultural collapse. The book makes a strong intellectual case for policy making that emphasizes sustainability considerations. Diamond’s publications and research contributions earned him the 1999 National Medal of Science. The enormous and impressive scope of Prof. Jared's scholarship (depth and breadth) that focuses on the role of agriculture in human development is worthy for recognition by the Wolf Prize in Agriculture; more importantly, this recognition promotes the implementation of measures, learnt from the history of agriculture, to ascertain success in agriculture's main objective, namely continued provision of food while preserving our natural resources.