4 things you should know according to Bill Gates' favorite author

By Catherine Cheney 24 November 2015

Vaclav Smil, a Czech-Canadian scientist and policy analyst. Photo by: Eva Smil

Bill Gates has said there is no author whose books he looks forward to more than those of Vaclav Smil, a Czech-Canadian scientist and professor emeritus of environment and geography at the University of Manitoba.

Titles including “Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate” and “Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the Transformation of World Food Production” sit on Gates’ bookshelf.

Despite the influence Smil has had on the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the scholar himself is frustrated with the field of international development.

Here’s what he wants Devex readers to know.

This article is for Devex Members
For full access to the content of the article sign in or join Devex.

About the author

Catherine cheney devex
Catherine Cheneycatherinecheney

Catherine Cheney covers the West Coast global development community for Devex. Since graduating from Yale University, where she earned bachelor's and master's degrees in political science, Catherine has worked as a reporter and editor for a range of publications including World Politics Review, POLITICO, and NationSwell, a media company and membership network she helped to build. She is also an ambassador for the Solutions Journalism Network and the Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute.


Join the Discussion