INSECT specialist Thomas Odhiambo has been declared 1997's most distinguished African scientist by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria. The institute makes awards annually to scientists who have made their mark in the field of agriculture, environment and other development sciences.
Professor Odhiambo, chairman of the board of trustees of IITA from 1976 to 1977, grew up in colonial Kenya and took his doctorate at Cambridge University in the early 1960s. After completing his PhD in 1965, he read for a master's degree in natural science.
He was the founding head of the department of entomology and the founding dean of the faculty of agriculture at the University of Nairobi, but beyond this made his name as one of Africa's prominent emergent experimental biologists.