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The AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture
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“...to promote a broader and more complete understanding of agriculture as the most basic human endeavor and... to enhance agriculture through increased scientific knowledge.”
Charles Valentine Riley (1882)
The 2010 Riley Lecture
Dr. Roger Beachy’s presentation
On June 15, 2010, Dr. Roger Beachy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gave the inaugural Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture at the AAAS headquarters. Dr. Beachy’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion with Molly Jahn, University of Wisconsin; Neil Conklin, Farm Foundation; and Gebisa Ejeta, Purdue University and 2009 World Food Prize Laureate.
Background on the Lecture
In 2008, the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation (RMF) made a gift to the AAAS to endow a Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture at AAAS in honor of Professor Riley’s legacy as a “whole picture” person with a vision for enhancing agriculture through scientific knowledge.
Working in collaboration with the RMF and the World Food Prize Foundation (WFPF), an organization whose fundamental goal is to support efforts toward an adequate supply and availability of nutritious food for the burgeoning world population in the 21st century, AAAS will organize an annual lecture that will address timely topics such as the role that food, agriculture, and natural resources play in providing for a secure food supply and a sustainable economy.
“Charles Valentine Riley Examining an Insect.” Undated. Charles Valentine Riley Collection. Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, Maryland.
Charles Valentine Riley was a prominent 19th century entomologist. In 1878, he was appointed to the post of Entomologist to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was chosen to be the first Curator of Insects for the Smithsonian Institution in 1885. Professor Riley became a member of AAAS in 1868, was elected a Fellow in 1874, and then went on to be the Vice President for the biology section in 1888. The impact of his work of more than a century ago is still being felt today, not only in the fields of entomology and agriculture but also in other natural sciences. Professor Riley’s vision and ability to see the role of agriculture in the productive use of the landscape, as an artistry upon which all society depends, is perhaps his greatest legacy.