Lester R. Brown, Nevin Scrimshaw, Glen Urban

Lester R. Brown, Nevin Scrimshaw, Glen Urban, 1974

Lester R. Brown (b. 1934) is an environmental analyst, agricultural economist, and founder of the Worldwatch Institute and the Earth Policy Institute, a nonprofit research group based in Washington, D.C. He is the author of over forty books and perhaps his best known work is Plan 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble.

Brown started his career as a farmer in southern New Jersey with his younger brother during high school and college. Shortly after earning a degree in agricultural science from Rutgers University in 1955, he spent six months living in rural India where he became familiar with the food and population issue. In 1959, Brown joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service as an international agricultural analyst.

Brown earned masters degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Maryland and in public administration from Harvard. In 1964, he became an adviser to Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman on foreign agricultural policy. In 1966, the Secretary appointed him Administrator of the department’s International Agricultural Development Service. In early 1969, he left government to help establish the Overseas Development Council.

Brown is the recipient of over forty honorary doctorates, and was named a 1986 MacArthur Fellow. He was described by the Washington Post as, “one of the world’s most influential thinkers.”

Professor Nevin Scrimshaw (1918 - 2013) was a food scientist and Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT. Among his many accomplishments are his work in fighting protein, iodine and iron deficiencies, developing nutritional supplements, educating generations of experts, and building support for continued advances in food quality have made substantial improvements in the lives of millions throughout the world. Professor Scrimshaw earned a doctorate in physiology from Harvard University in 1941 and a medical degree from the University of Rochester four years later. His contributions to human nutrition began during his medical training with his studies of nutrition and pregnancy in Panama. In recognition of this work, Dr. Scrimshaw was asked to establish and lead the Institute of Nutrition of Central American and Panama (INCAP) in Guatemala.

Professor Scrimshaw came to MIT in 1961 as professor of human nutrition and head of a new Department of Nutrition and Food Science. In 1976 he established the International Food and Nutrition Planning Program at MIT, which provided training in nutrition research for scientists in developing countries. In 1980, as Institute Professor, he began research on the functional consequences of iron deficiency and developed methods for getting iron into the diets of people in underdeveloped countries. He remained for many years one of the principal advisors to international and national organizations in the field of food and nutrition. He retired from MIT in 1988.

Professor Glen Urban (b. 1940) has been a member of the MIT Sloan School of Management faculty since 1966 and Dean at the school from 1993 to 1998. Professor Urban is a leading educator, prize-winning researcher specializing in marketing and new product development, entrepreneur, and author.

Professor Urban is credited with launching the field of “trust-based” marketing. He has also published more than 30 articles on pre-market forecasting of new products, test marketing, product line planning, leading-edge users in new product development, and consumer budgeting. His papers have won several prestigious awards, including two O’Dells—in 1983 and 1986—for the best papers published in marketing research in MIT Sloan Management Review. In 1996 he received the American Marketing Association Paul D. Converse Award for outstanding contributions to the development of the science of marketing, and the Journal of Marketing award for best paper in that year. In 1999 he was winner of the American Marketing Association and The Wharton School’s Charles Coolidge Parlin Award for recognition of a body of work in marketing research. In 2000 he presented the Wroe Alderson Lecture at the Wharton School.

Trained initially in engineering and business, Professor Urban earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1963 and an M.B.A. in 1964, both from the University of Wisconsin. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwester University in 1966.


“Policy Responses to World Food Scarcity.” February 13, 1974. Kresge Auditorium.