Biography of Ian Cowen
Trumpery Affair: How Wallace stimulated Darwin to ‘publish and be damned'

Emeritus Professor Ian Cowan FAA

Formerly Head – Environmental Biology Group

Research School of Biological Sciences ANU

Ian Cowan lives in Canberra (an ANU RSBS Visiting Fellow), and in his active retirement, continues to sustain a fulfilling career as scientist, student of philosophy and bon vivant!

He took a degree in physics at London University, studied briefly in the Soil Physics Department at Rothamsted Experimental Station (Harpenden, UK) before going to Jamaica to work on problems of irrigation and drainage on sugar cane plantations. He nearly became manager of a plantation, but, instead, after 6 years returned to England. Lectured on soil physics and micrometeorology in the School of Agriculture of Nottingham University for 7 years, before coming to Australia, initially to CSIRO. He subsequently took up a position in the newly formed Research School of Biological Sciences at ANU, his research gravitating towards plant physiology and ecology. He was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences in 198?, and retired from research in 1993.

Amongst his extra-curricular activities had been the establishment and part-ownership of Dorette's Bistro, a restaurant cum nightclub with musical entertainment (both classical and jazz), and art exhibitions - provided mainly by staff and students of the ANU Institute of the Arts. Interests now include dealing in early illustrations of the Australian flora and fauna, studying (and attempting to write about) the history of science (particularly evolution), and involvement with the Independent Scholars Association of Australia.

Download biography as pdf.