Frontiers of Science series to close Feb. 25 with Jonathan Lynch

February 14, 2012

A free public lecture titled "Roots of the Second Green Revolution" will take place at 11 a.m. on Feb. 25 in Room 100 of the Thomas Building on Penn State's University Park campus. The speaker will be Jonathan Lynch, who is a professor of plant nutrition in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State.

The event is the last of six lectures in the 2012 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, a free minicourse for the general public with the theme "Food: Strategies for Growing Enough for Everyone." No registration is required. The lectures take place on consecutive Saturday mornings from 11 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m.

In his lecture, Lynch will explain why 1 billion people are hungry in the third world, where crop yields are low because of drought and low soil fertility. Meanwhile, in rich nations, intensive use of irrigation and fertilizers is causing environmental havoc. Lynch will address the possibility of developing new crops with better root systems that would boost yields in poor nations while reducing environmental damage in rich nations.

Lynch's research is focused on understanding the architecture of plant roots and developing new and better crops. Currently, he is working with colleagues in Africa and Latin America to develop new varieties of corn and a common bean with greater tolerance to drought and low soil fertility.

Lynch has published numerous scientific papers in journals such as Functional Plant Biology, Plant and Soil, the Journal of Experimental Botany, and Plant Physiology. He as also has served on the editorial boards of Plant, Cell and Environment, Functional Plant Biology, Plant and Soil, and Annals of Botany.

In 2005, Lynch was the recipient of the Alex and Jessie C. Black Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research and, in that same year, he was honored with the Howard P. Taylor lectureship in root-biology research. In 2005, the Mexican Academy of Sciences named Lynch a Distinguished Professor and, in 2004, Lynch became a fellow of the Crop Science Society of America. In 1999, he was awarded a China Friendship Award, the highest recognition awarded by the government of China to citizens of other countries, and in 1996, he received an Excellent Educational Work Prize, also from the Chinese government.

Before he joined the Penn State faculty in 1991, Lynch was a senior staff scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia. He earned doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degrees at the University of California in 1987, 1982 and 1980, respectively.

The Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science is a program of the Penn State Eberly College of Science that is designed for the enjoyment and education of residents of the Central Pennsylvania area and beyond. For more information or access assistance, contact the Eberly College of Science Office of Media Relations and Public Information by telephone at 814-863-0901 or by email at More information about the Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, including archived recordings of previous lectures and a list of other lectures in the 2012 series, is available online at

  • Jonathan Lynch, professor of plant nutrition at Penn State, will give the final lecture in the 2012 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated January 09, 2015