For a man who has devoted his life to environmental protection, Professor Ian Lowe AO does absolutely nothing to conserve energy when it comes to his own.
Emeritus Professor of Science, Engineering, Environment and Technology at Griffith, Professor Lowe has also served as President of the Australian Conservation Foundation for almost a decade. With degrees in engineering and physics, he has held a wide range of government advisory roles and published 20 books as well as more than 500 other publications.
His lifelong contribution to science has won him an extraordinary array of accolades; he was named Humanist of the Year in 1988 and made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2001. He has been also been awarded the Centenary Medal, the Eureka Prize for promotion of science, the Prime Minister’s Environment Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, the Queensland Premier’s Millennium Award for Excellence in Science, and more.
Professor Lowe says he is now officially retired but continues to live life at a pace that would demolish a fast bowler. And, as it happens, cricket is one of his enduring passions.
A cricket playing scientist
“I’ve always been a scientist who enjoyed playing cricket rather than someone who sees cricket as his life’s work,” Professor Lowe said.
This month he is part of Australia’s first over-70’s cricket team to tour England, and while the match pace might be a little slower it is still going to be demanding tour.
“We’ll play seven counties in England’s over-70’s competition; and another three matches against the combined England side. We’ll be pitting ourselves against the best geriatrics England can put on the paddock,” Professor Lowe said.
Professor Lowe first donned cricket whites while still at a school, but even then he aimed high. He was just 13 when he first got the chance to play for his home town cricket club.
“Every weekend I used to put on my whites, go to the ground and sit… and wait. Then one day someone didn’t turn up and I was sent to the boundary to field and I managed to take a screamer of a catch. For about the next 15 minutes I was a hero. And then the real cricketer turned up and I was sent back to the bench”
As with all things in Ian Lowe’s life, persistence paid off.
He played representative cricket for Camden District before six seasons in University of NSW first grade. While studying in England, he was in the Combined British Universities squad as well as playing league cricket in Yorkshire. After returning to Australia he played two season of grade cricket in Brisbane, then thirty seasons with Griffith University in the Warehouse competition.
He has also represented Queensland every year since the State joined the Over-60s competition, and plays over-40s cricket for Sunshine Coast Antiquarians. He believes he is the oldest serious outswing bowler in Queensland cricket. But for all that, he points out that in 55 years of competitive cricket he has only achieved one century and one tenfer.
After the England cricket tour he is going on a ten day walk across Portugal and Spain. He’s then returning for the over 60’s cricket carnival on the Sunshine Coast in September.
Not declaring stumps yet
Despite his extraordinary career in cricket, Professor Lowe remains better known for the runs he scores in the field of Science and service to the community. And he’s not declaring stumps there yet either.
“I have just co-ordinated a significant research project for the Federal Government developing a framework for assessing the likely social and economic impact of new technologies.
Why does he maintain this pace?
“Well, you only get one life don’t you?”