in memoriam - Prof. Akira Tanaka (1924-2016)
The IUSS Secretariat was sad to learn that prominent scientist Akira Tanaka passed away on August 22, 2016 at the age of 91. He was President of the IUSS (ISSS) and of the Japanese Society of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition (JSSSPN) in 1986-1990 and 1980-1981, respectively. Emeritus Professor Tanaka, Hokkaido University, devoted a large part of his life to research in soil science and plant physiology. One of his distinguished achievements was his great contribution to the boost of rice production in Asia – people call it ‘green revolution’. During his stay at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in 1962-1966, Prof. Tanaka proposed an ideal plant type concept of tropical rice plants based on theoretical and practical experiments. His proposal was eventually realized as modern, high-yielding cultivars through the close collaboration with breeders. At the same time, Prof. Tanaka surveyed the fertility status of various soils, especially in Asian countries, and contributed to establishing appropriate fertilizer use.
Prof. Tanaka published nearly 200 research papers, many reviews and several monographs, and gave academic speeches in various international meetings and symposia. He actively joined various international and national organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, World Vegetable Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, etc. For his achievements he received the Japan Academy Prize and Japan Prize of Agricultural Science in 1975, in addition to receiving awards from the American Society of Plant Biologists in 1984 and the Committee of International Year of Rice in 2004.