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Florida professor creates endowment for insect scientists

Dr. Nan-Yao Su, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida, has donated $250,000 to the Entomological Society of America (ESA) for the establishment of an endowment to award creative entomologists who have demonstrated the ability to find alternative solutions to problems that significantly impact entomology. Each year, the interest from the $250,000 will be presented to the winner of ESA's newest award, the Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology.

"I wanted to establish an award to identify and honor innovative works accomplished by creative individuals," said Dr. Su. "This award is meant to identify such individuals, to honor their works, and to further encourage such approaches, regardless of their fields."

Dr. Su's own creativity helped him come up with an innovative solution to termite problems, the Sentricon System, which has been marketed in 18 countries since 1995 to protect over two million homes, and has reduced pesticide use by more than 6,000 metric tons. His goal is to encourage similar innovations and thought processes in future generations.

"Nothing is etched in stone, and a young entomologist needs to question and challenge the establishment," he said. "Entomologists are some of the very lucky few who are allowed to keep their childhood curiosity. The schooling and demands from our daily work may sometimes force us to 'grow up,' but we should not forget the childhood amazement we all experienced when we marveled over, for example, the wing venation of an insect. That perceptive and imaginative mind drove most us to our professions, and we need to go back to that foundation."

The first winner of this new award will be presented at the ESA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, December 13-16, 2009. More information on the Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology, including eligibility requirements, nomination procedures, and evaluation criteria, can be found online at


Contact: Richard Levine
Entomological Society of America

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