An Aberdeen scientist has been included in Esquire magazine’s list of the “20 men who will shape the next 20 years”.
Biologist Dr Alan Bowman appears alongside quantum physicists, entrepreneurs, activists, Prince Charles and others who, the men’s glossy claims, “hold our future in their hands.”
The senior lecturer was included because some of his research – also involving the University of Aberdeen’s Dr Ewan Campbell and Dr Giles Budge at the National Bee Unit – is trying to protect the endangered honey bee which has been declining by as much as 30 per cent a year.
The blood sucking Varroa mite is the biggest killer of honey bees worldwide after developing resistance to beekeepers’ medication over the past decade.
However Dr Bowman and the team have worked out how to turn the mite’s immune system onto itself which causes the bug to “self-destruct”.
Dr Bowman tells the magazine: “Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying that mankind would die out four years after the bees die. It is not about lack of honey but the bees’ pollination services. More than 70 per cent our crops are dependent on bees and other insect pollinators – without their help we’d be eating just potatoes, rice and grains.”
When asked by Esquire if bee populations could bounce back, the researcher adds: “I certainly hope so. As Liam Gallagher said: ‘It’s important. Without them we’re in proper bother’.”
Dr Bowman is delighted to be included in Esquire’s list of the “powerful few”. He said: “I was bemused when Esquire contacted me to be in this group, but am pleased the importance our team’s work here at the University of Aberdeen has been recognised. We hope we’ve made a significant contribution toward the fight against varroa with our species-specific and environmentally friendly approach.”