Friday, 29 May 2009

Viva Vavilov

For those of you who are interested in learning more about the work of N.I. Vavilov, the great Russian botanist, plant collector and geneticist, you can read more about him here: Vaviblog. Jeremy Cherfas of Bioversity International, sent me the link and I found the mix of quotes from Vavilov's diary, interspersed with comments from Jeremy and others, to be fascinating. If you're not interested in food plants and their origins, you may not find this as absorbing as I did. I humbly suggest that you never darken my blog with your presence again.

Vavilov lived an event-filled life and by rights ought to have featured in one of Eisenstein's films as a Soviet uber-hero. Unfortunately for him, he fell foul of Stalin's regime and ironically, for one who worked tirelessly to promote food security, ended up starving to death in prison.


Can we, I wonder, persuade some Hollywood movie mogul to take up the baton on Comrade Nikolai's behalf? Vavilov's life has all the elements of a drama by Sophocles, with stunning locations on five continents as a backdrop. I can see, perhaps, Brad Pitt as Vavilov and Tommy Lee Jones as Lysenko, or then again perhaps not. Putative title: No Country For Bold Men. Or I'm thinking maybe we could get Pedro Almodovar back to direct Vavivolver with Penelope Cruz as Mrs Vavilov. It's that important a story.


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