Botanist’s passion still growing strong

Botanist and academic David Goodall celebrated his 100th birthday on April 4.
Botanist and academic David Goodall celebrated his 100th birthday on April 4.

Dr Goodall, an honorary research fellow with the School of Natural Sciences, celebrated the milestone on April 4.

He was born in 1914, in Edmonton, England, seven years before Edith Cowan was elected to the WA Parliament in 1921.

Dr Goodall, who catches the train to Joondalup from Maylands each day, divides his time between writing research papers and mentoring postgraduate students.

He has authored more than 100 research publications spanning over 70 years.

He said one of the biggest changes he has witnessed in his career has been in computers.

‘In the ’60s, I worked with one of the first computers available for research in WA,’ he said.

‘It was an enormous great thing at UWA. I was writing computer programs for it.’

And Dr Goodall has been writing computer programs ever since. ‘I wrote my last program three or four years ago,’ he said.

Another change had been the role of technology in helping research.

He said remote sensors and aerial and satellite photography meant less time spent in the field.

He was recently invited to write a paper on the last century of vegetation science.

‘Given my birthday, I’m in as good a position as anyone to write on that subject,’ he said.