Date of this Version
This volume is the outgrowth of an international symposium held at Lincoln, Nebraska, January 20-24, 1969. It was sponsored by the University of Nebraska in cooperation with the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America with partial financing by the Rockefeller Foundation and the International Biological Program.
The symposium planning committee was broadly based and was able to bring specialists from many parts of the world to the conference. Thus, the technical presentations were drawn from outstanding authorities backed up by a clear perspective of social needs. This was a happy combination which contributed greatly to the success of the conference and is shown on the printed pages of this book. Happy, too, is the realization that in this symposium the most basic of inquiry into the physiology of plants is brought to bear on solving problems of the yield of economic plants vital to man's existence, both now and in the long view ahead. Empiricism, successful in past decades will, we are convinced, be augmented and in some cases be replaced by the new understanding of the physiology of yield in plants.
We sometimes hear that research is less enjoyable and rewarding now than formerly, partly because it is so fragmented. The output is so great that no one can keep up with more than a mere fraction of research reports and relating one part with another is often difficult. We believe the symposium presented here in book form has bridged some of these chasms.
There is no reason why science cannot be put to work somewhere to assist man in his eternal quest to control his environment and satisfy his basic needs and ambitions. However, there are many examples of misguided or abortive "advances" which produce short-term or local gains at the risk of much larger long-term losses. Hence, as was brought out at the symposium, a certain level of technology must be evaluated in terms of its cost, its worth, and the goals men hold. The societies which sponsored this undertaking are dedicated to the encouragement of excellent science and to the dissemination of knowledge. We believe this book represents a positive and useful effort toward both.