Ivan Michurin, developer of over 300 varieties Aug 16, 2012 22:36:13 GMT -5
Post by castanea on Aug 16, 2012 22:36:13 GMT -5
"Even the best cultivated plant can be improved"
Burbank kept extensive notes of some of his experiments but not of others. That doesn't make him any less of a scientist. There are few scientists anywhere who have recorded and controlled all variables for eevrything they do because most of the time it is impossible. If Burbank had spent his time writing everything down he would have accomplished far less than he did, which is perhaps the difference between his 800 new varieties and Michurin's 300 varieties. Even so, we still have Burbank's 8 volumes of "How Plants Are Trained to Work for Man" and
"Luther Burbank: His Methods and Discoveries. A 12â€“volume monographic series documenting Burbank's methods and discoveries and their practical application, prepared from his original field notes covering more than 100,000 experiments made during forty years devoted to plant improvement. Created with the assistance of the Luther Burbank Society and its entire membership, under the editorial direction of John Whitson and Robert John and Henry Smith Williams."
What Michurin did in recording methodolgies is important. What Burbank did in developing new varieties is important. You don't need a record of what trees Burbank crossed (or that Albert Etter crossed, or that Fellix Gillet crossed) to benefit from and use their results. Ignorance, and scientific snobbery, are behind most of the critics who claim Burbank was not a scientist. Burbank accomplished more than hundreds of his contemporaries who sat behind desks and wrote things down. I'm sure that annoyed many of them, but instead it should have been a lesson for them. If you're planting open pollinated seeds, growing them out, planting their seedlings, making observations, learning, and planting some more seedlings, you are a scientist.
1 Luther Burbank type scientist is more valuable than 1000s of Monsanto scientists.