Peter Hirst is professor of Horticulture at Purdue University, where he has served on the faculty since 1997. He received a BHortSci degree from Massey University in New Zealand and a PhD degree from The Ohio State University. His research has focused on the physiology, genetics and management of fruit trees, in particular apple. In recent years, his research has concentrated on understanding and manipulating flowering initiation which is a necessary precursor to reliable cropping, and on fruit development. Other areas of emphasis include the application of robotics and sensing technologies to fruit orchards, and the development of predictive computer models of growth and fruiting for educational and research applications. In his position as state extension specialist, Professor Hirst translates research data into strategies able to be implemented by growers. He is a guest professor at the Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University in China, and has communicated research results and recommendations to scientists and growers in many countries. He has been involved in addressing capacity building and food security in both Africa and Asia.