In the memoir Untold Stories, Dr. R. James Cook compiles stories into a single read-through description of his career as a research plant pathologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) and later with Washington State University (WSU) as the R. James Cook Endowed Chair in Wheat Research.
Dr. Cook writes, “It is not my intent with Untold Stories to present my career as somehow special or different from others of my generation of agricultural scientists. Any one of my peers could write a book about their career that would be just as interesting, or more interesting, than mine. If my career has been unique, it is the approach I took and the philosophy behind my approach to do hypothesis-driven research starting in the field, followed by the laboratory, based on what I had learned from experiments done in the field and not the other way around. Watching and learning from mentors,… I developed a philosophy of taking my research to the problem—where the disease under study occurred naturally—rather than bringing the problem to my research. This book is really about the number of fundamental questions my colleagues and I answered that could only have been answered through one or more well-designed experiments carried out in the field with some, by design, lasting several years.”
Woven among the compelling stories and personal experiences, readers will find the following:
• A comprehensive account of the four most common root diseases of wheat and the agronomic and seed treatment options for their management, with a focus on direct-seed (no-till), cereal-intensive cropping systems.
• Detailed experiences with root diseases of wheat and their management, encompassing 40 years of field research across all precipitation zones in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
• Fundamental discoveries that could only have been made in the field, such as the 15% to 20% difference in grain yield when comparing the presence and absence of Pythium root rot achieved using soil fumigation as a research tool.
• Examples of Dr. Cook’s unique research philosophy: test hypotheses in the field first, then research more deeply in the laboratory or greenhouse.
The stories told and the realities shared in this book will also help guide next-generation research, such as that conducted in the new field of phytobiomes, inspiring a new generation of scientists to apply one of Dr. Cook’s long-standing principles in conducting research on plant disease control: “Until it is done or confirmed in the field—and in practice—it is not done.”
Quantity discounts are available for easy distribution to field representatives and other experts at your organization; VIP clients/customers in the wheat industry; colleagues in state and county Extension agencies; and fellow researchers and diagnosticians at your institution.