Staff from two schools of the University have been nominated in the Northern Territory list for Australian of the Year.
They are Professor David Bowman, Professorial Research Fellow and an international authority on the ecology and bio-geography of Australian forests, and Dr Bart Currie, an infectious disease expert at the Menzies School of Health Research.
David Bowman, Professor of Landscape and Wildlife Science, has spent many years studying rain forests, fire and vegetation management in the Territory.
His research has led him to the belief that southern fire managers should look to the burning practices of Indigenous communities in the Top End if they are to successfully manage bush fires.
He has written more than 150 papers based on 20 years field research in Tasmania, PNG and northern and central Australia.
His book Australian Rainforest - Islands of Green in the Land of Fire details his ideas about landscape management.
Professor Bowman said he was very happy to have been nominated, although had not known it was coming.
‘It was a complete surprise, and I don’t know who nominated me, but I couldn’t be happier to be in such distinguished company as the other finalists.
‘As far as I’m concerned this is as good as it gets.’
He said that although he had been working in the Territory for 22 years, his contribution to research had been across the country and done for the benefit of all Australians.
Dr Currie’s research interests include the study of tropical and emerging infections and their treatment.
His work on the bacteria that cause the disease melioidosis, which lives in soils and muddy water across northern Australia, has attracted international attention and he is now working with scientists overseas.
The other NT nominees for Australian of the Year are teacher and linguist Raymattja Marika, from East Arnhem Land and Alice Springs Crown Prosecutor Dr Nanette Rogers.
Among those nominated from other States are scientist Dr Tim Flannery and Nobel Prize winners Professor Barry Marshall and Professor Robin Warren from WA, whose work on gastric ulcers was rewarded last year.
The Australian of the Year will be announced at Parliament House, Canberra on January 25.
The finalist from each State or Territory will be announced later this month.