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Visiting scientist wins Argentina’s highest science prize

A visiting scientist from Argentina who has been working in the Department of Crop Science is the winner of the most prestigious science award given in Argentina.

Dr. Antonio Hall is the winner of the 2013 Bunge y Born Foundation Prize. Only six times in the 50-year history of the award has the prize been given for work in an agricultural science.

Hall is a plant physiologist who has been working with Dr. Tom Sinclair, adjunct professor in the Department of Crop Science, since April. Hall is studying differences in root extension among corn varieties under different soil drying conditions.

Experiments in Argentina indicated that differences in drought tolerance between varieties might be explained by differences in root characteristics. Developing hybrids with superior rooting characteristics for drought conditions is a major goal for crop improvement both in Argentina and the U.S. The facilities and cooperating faculty at N.C. State University offered a fertile environment for experiments designed to document various aspects of root growth.

Hall is an emeritus professor at the University of Buenos Aires. His studies of the ecophysiology of crop development and growth provided major contributions to the understanding of crop yield improvement.

He is also a Fellow of the Academia Nacional de Agronomía y Veterinaria, and until 2012 he was chief researcher at the CONICET, the National Scientific and Technical Research Council, an Argentine government agency that directs and coordinates most of the scientific and technical research done in universities and institutes.

In addition to his research with corn, Hall is widely recognized as a leading international expert on sunflower. He has trained students who are now key scientists in both Argentine and at international research centers. He has also served as a cooperator and advisor for international research centers and universities worldwide.

Hall’s N.C. State visit ends at the end of August, at which time he plans to return to Argentina and attend the award ceremony for the Bunge y Born Prize.

The Bunge y Born Foundation is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to “promote scientific investigation by means of awards, scholarships and grants, and enable many kinds of activities aimed at benefiting health, education and culture in the community at large.”
The foundation was created in 1963 on Bunge y Born’s 80th anniversary in Argentina.

Now known as Bunge Limited, Bunge y Born was a multinational corporation based in Buenos Aires whose diverse interests included food processing and international trade in grains and oilseeds.