Past, present, future: Retired scientists share long views

Past, present, future: Retired scientists share long views

By Amy Mayer

20 Dec 2012
After 42 years with the agronomy department at Iowa State University, John Pesek retired in 1992, but he still keeps an eye on what’s happening in his field. (Courtesy Bob Elbert, Iowa State University)

In the course of my reporting, I recently met two retired scientists who offer interesting perspectives on the past half century or more of U.S. agriculture. And at their advanced age, they’ve got a few things to say about our prospects for the future, too.

John Pesek came to Iowa State University in Ames as an assistant professor of agronomy in 1950. He became chair of that important department, a position he held for 26 years, and finally retired from the university in 1992. He’s now 91.

Pesek told me that one of the most significant advances in agriculture in the second half of the 20th century was how researchers applied their growing understanding of genetics to corn breeding…..(more).

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