National Scientist Vergara obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of the Philippines, his master's degree from University of Hawaii, and his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago majoring in Plant Sciences. He worked full time on rice from 1961 to 1995. He was the Director for Administration before his early retirement from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). He is still involved with rice but has shifted his interest in ornamental plants and the development of the Philippine Science Heritage Center or Salinlahi.
With a noble vision to help farmers and bring science and technology closer to the Filipino people he contributed enormously in improving rice varieties to produce richer harvests. He popularized the scientific basis of growing rice. He is the mind behind the creation of the IRRI Rice World and the philippine Science Heritage Center, two science centers that instill science-oriented culture among the public.
He believes that his greatest contributions to science are his researches on rice, his numerous graduate students, his book on Farmer's Primer on Growing Rice, which has been translated into more than 40 languages, and his development of the Riceworld Museum and now the Philippine Science Heritage Center.
Birthdate: 23 June 1934
Died: 24 October 2015
- Ph. D. Botany - University of Chicago 1960
- M.S. Botany - University of Hawaii 1959
- B.S. Botany - University of the Philippines 1955