Professor Bowman has made highly original discoveries that have revealed the genetic basis of three fundamental processes in plant development. His contribution began when, as a graduate student, he helped define the action of ABC genes in controlling flower organ identity. He then discovered the roles of three transcription factor families that control the dorso-ventral polarity and outgrowth of leaves, and their evolutionary origin. In two of these families, he reported the founding member. He has recently revealed the action of homeodomain transcription factors in regulating the plant life cycle by switching on development of the. diploid, sporophytic phase.