Passionate marine science and radio astronomy leader Bernard Bowen has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by The University of Western Australia.
The founding chair of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) was presented with the degree in recognition of his outstanding contribution to science in Western Australia following a long and distinguished career spanning more than half a century.
Dr Bowen is renowned as one of the country’s finest science administrators and has presided over scientific advances ranging from the oceans to the skies.
He was Western Australia’s first government marine scientist, analysing the State’s lucrative rock lobster fishery, and spent 23 years at the helm of the Department of Fisheries (formerly the Department of Fisheries and Fauna) until 1991.
Dr Bowen went on to become deputy chair of the WA Environmental Protection Authority from 1994-1997, and then chair from 1997-2003.
He also played a significant role in the development of the WA Marine Research Laboratories and the WA Wildlife Research Centre.
In 2005, at the request of the WA Government, Dr Bowen guided the establishment of the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) and was its founding chair.
He was instrumental in the establishment of ICRAR—a joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia—and has chaired the ICRAR Board since 2009.
ICRAR executive director Professor Peter Quinn said Dr Bowen’s leadership was invaluable to the centre.
“Dr Bowen’s knowledge and experience in the WA science community is legendary and I’m delighted to congratulate him on this achievement,” he said.
“He has worked tirelessly to support science in the State for more than 60 years and his accomplishments will be felt in WA for generations to come.”
Dr Bowen was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 1991 and was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal in 2003.
In 2011, he was inducted into the WA Science Hall of Fame, joining Fiona Stanley, Ian Constable, John de Laeter, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren.