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Soil scientist Nyle Brady dies at 95

Nyle Brady

Nyle Brady, a longtime professor and leader in soil science at Cornell University, died Nov. 24 in Colorado at age 95.

He joined Cornell as a professor of soil science in 1947 and served in leadership roles in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). In 1953, he was named a professor of merit by CALS students, an award recognizing his excellence in undergraduate teaching.

Brady “was one of the giants of our field,” and yet known for his personable approach to students and colleagues, according to Pedro Sanchez ‘62, M.S. ’64, Ph.D. ’68, director of the Agriculture and Food Security Center and senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, whom Brady mentored.

Brady chaired the Department of Agronomy from 1955 to 1963, followed by a role as assistant dean at CALS until 1973. After retiring from Cornell in 1976, he worked in the Philippines as director of the International Rice Research Institute to combat poverty and hunger through the improvement of rice cultivation.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina.

“He was a giant in soil science and agriculture, and left an important legacy in many ways,” said Ray Weil, professor of environmental science and technology at the University of Maryland. The two co-authored several books still used as seminal texts in soil science.

Matt Hayes is managing editor and social media officer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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Melissa Osgood