Ralph Caldwell was a dynamic, innovative plant pathologist and plant breeder. His contributions to small grain cereal production in the Eastern United States were at the top of his field, and his achievements brought respect and honor to the Purdue University/US Department of Agriculture small grain research and breeding program, which he led. His approach to scientific problems was incisive. Dr. Caldwell was practically oriented, never losing sight of the societal benefits of his work. Nevertheless, he was a strong participant in and supporter of more basic research—believing that it was essential but not the total answer. One of his guidelines was that the applied program—breeding for disease resistance—was central and required a team effort. It inevitably would run into problems that were not easily addressed in the ongoing team effort. These problems, in turn, became the objects of research studies, which were individually approached on second tracks by members of the “team.” Research results were subsequently funneled back, as solutions for the specific problems, into the broadly based plant improvement program.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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