An Emeritus Professor at The Australian National University (ANU) whose work has changed the way we think about early human life has been honoured with a prestigious science prize.

Archaeologist Peter Bellwood’s research explored how farming spread around the globe, the formation of Polynesian culture and human adaptation to island environments.

In winning the 2021 International Cosmos Prize he joins an illustrious group of recipients which includes Sir David Attenborough and Dr Jane Goodall.

Emeritus Professor Bellwood is also the first Australian to be awarded the prize in its 28 year history. 

He says he’s humbled by the honour.

“My goal has always been to expose others to the remarkable achievements of our ancestors, so that those achievements can still inspire us today,” he said.

“As a multidisciplinary historian of the pre-modern human population, I have come to realise that any true understanding of the human past and its global impact must draw on research that is undertaken by many different scientific disciplines.”

Emeritus Professor Bellwood held various roles at ANU from 1973 until his retirement in 2013.

Notably, he proposed the “early farming dispersal hypothesis”, which brought together archaeology and linguistics to study the migration of early farmers.

The International Cosmos Prize is an annual award presented by the Expo’90 Foundation.

It aims to celebrate work that demonstrates “the harmonious coexistence of nature and mankind”.

You may also like

Article Card Image

Ashes under foot and heavens above: remembering Canberra’s 2003 bushfire disaster

Twenty years on from the Canberra firestorm that devastated ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory, Professor Brian Schmidt shares his experience at the fire front.

Article Card Image

Measuring the quantum: new techniques for accurate measurements of tiny objects

New research led by a team of ANU scientists has outlined a way to achieve more accurate measurements of microscopic objects using quantum computers.

Article Card Image

Top diplomat and Indigenous songwriter honoured with ANU degrees 

One of Australia’s most decorated diplomats and a member of the ARIA Hall of Fame are among those who have been celebrated with honorary degrees from ANU this week, as part of the University’s end-of-year graduation ceremonies.

Subscribe to ANU Reporter

Anu Logo

+61 2 6125 5111

The Australian National University, Canberra

CRICOS Provider: 00120C

ABN: 52 234 063 906

EDX Logo
APRU Logo
IARU Logo
Group of eight Australia Logo