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February 15 , 2010

Memories and Reflections

The Life, Work and Observations of an Agricultural and Environmental Scientist


This is a series of personal recollections concerning the life and work of a leading American–Israeli environmental and agricultural scientist, whose wide-ranging personal and professional experiences span eight decades and some 40 countries around the world. It recalls a family's journey in 1932 from California to Palestine, and the events that led to his taking part in the establishment of the first modern settlement in the highlands of the Negev Desert (later joined by ex-Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion), and helping to innovate and apply efficient methods of soil and water management in irrigated and rain-fed farming.

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Over the years, Daniel Hillel has taught hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students at major universities in Israel and the US, authored over 200 original research papers and ten definitive textbooks that have been translated and published in several languages, initiated and edited eight multi-author books (including the Encyclopedia of Soils in the Environment), and served on advisory and research missions (sponsored by UN's FAO, IAEA, USAID, Canada's IDRC, and Germany's ZEF) to some 40 countries in Asia, Africa, South America and Australasia, and was environment and irrigation advisor to the World Bank. He has helped initiate and conduct research at NASA/Goddard Institute and Columbia University on the potential impacts of climate change on regional and global food production.

Dr Hillel's life-long goal is to enhance the application of science toward the efficient and environmentally sound development of human, biotic, land, and water resources. For his multiple contributions to the science and the practice of enhanced and sustainable food production, Dr Hillel was awarded the World Food Prize in 2012.

  • A Family Odyssey
  • Childhood in Turmoil
  • My Grandpa
  • Agricultural High School
  • Education in the U.S.
  • Back in Israel
  • Establishing a Settlement in the Negev Highlands
  • Ecological Research in the Desert
  • David Ben-Gurion Visits and Joins Sdeh Boqer
  • Doctoral Research and Assignment in Southeast Asia
  • Postdoctoral Research in the U.S.
  • From California to Israel and the Six-Day War
  • Changes in Israel
  • First Working Assignment in Japan
  • Sabbatical in Wisconsin
  • The Yom Kippur War and Military Reserve Duty
  • Sabbaticals in Europe and the U.S.
  • International Assignments
  • Climate Change Issues
  • Outreach Publications
  • Culmination

Readership: General public interested in the biography of Dr Daniel Hillel.
Key Features:
  • Frank exposition of the author's life experiences
  • Readers may learn and gain insight into the way an active scientist can develop an interest and involvement in cooperative research and action regarding human management or mismanagement of the environment
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