Friday, July 9, 2010

Purdue Honors World Food Prize Winner

The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday approved renaming the Food Science Building in honor of Philip E. Nelson, who developed the program into one of the strongest in the nation and became an international laureate for his work in improving the world's food supply, reports the Purdue News Bureau.

Nelson, who retired in May at age 75, ended a 50-year career at Purdue, most recently as the Scholle Chair Professor in Food Processing. He was the food science department's first chairman when it was created in 1983 and served in that position for 20 years.

The building, dedicated in 1998 after a campaign that Nelson led for its construction, will be called the Philip E. Nelson Hall of Food Science. Largely designed by Nelson, it has been a model for other food science buildings in the United States.

It was his work in food science that brought Nelson international acclaim as recipient of the World Food Prize in 2007. Created by Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman E. Borlaug and often called the "Nobel Prize for Agriculture," the award honored Nelson for his aseptic processing innovation. The system revolutionized food trade by reducing post-harvest waste and making seasonal fruits and vegetables available year-round and easier to transport worldwide. The technology was used to bring potable water and emergency food to survivors of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and to victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It continues to be employed for safe and economical food processing, shipping and storage globally.

Nelson was the first Purdue faculty member to receive the World Food Prize since it was established in 1986. In 2008 Gov. Mitch Daniels created the Philip E. Nelson Innovation Prize to recognize scientists annually for their discoveries, research and inventions.


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