UB's Steegmann to Receive 2012 Franz Boas Award from Human Biology Association

Leading researcher on the biology of adaptation to cold has been on UB faculty for 46 years

Release Date: February 29, 2012 This content is archived.


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UB's Theodore Steegmann is the recipient of the 2012 Franz Boas Distinguished Achievement Award form the Human Biology Association.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Human Biology Association (HBA) has announced that A. Theodore Steegmann Jr., PhD, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University at Buffalo, is the recipient of its 2012 Franz Boas Distinguished Achievement Award.

He will receive the award at the HBA annual meeting at the Hilton Portland in Portland, Ore., April 11-12.

Steegmann was on the faculty of the University at Buffalo Department of Anthropology from 1966 to 2004, and chaired the department from 1979 to 1988 and now is an emeritus member of the physical anthropology faculty.

Steegmann is widely regarded as one of the world's leading researchers on the biology of cold adaptation among both contemporary and prehistoric human populations. His influential work over the last 40 years has transformed our understanding of how humans adapt to extreme environmental stressors, including cold, under-nutrition, hard physical work and toxic substances.

Most of his research has involved the field investigation of predictive biological-behavioral models in Alaska, Hawaii, northern Canada, China, the Philippines and Western New York, in particular at Love Canal. He is the author of the History of Love Canal and UB's Response: History, the University Role and Health Research in the Buffalo Environmental Law Journal, Volume 173 (2000-01), published on the 20th anniversary of Love Canal.

Among his many contributions to the field of human biology, Steegmann served as president of the HBA from 2004-06. In 2006, he delivered the association's Raymond Pearl Memorial Lecture, in which he presented an overview of his pioneering research on human adaptation to cold stress.

In 1986 he served as president of the Biological Anthropology Section of the American Anthropological Association; and from 2007-08, as chair of the Anthropology Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. From 1992-97, Steegmann served as editor of the "Yearbook of Physical Anthropology."

His most recent publications include Climate, Racial Category and Body Proportions in the U.S. in the American Journal of Human Biology (2005), the official journal of the HBA, and Human Cold Adaptation: An Unfinished Agenda, in the American Journal of Human Biology (2007).

The HBA award is named for Franz Boas (1858-1942), the founder of modern anthropology and the father of American anthropology. He also gave modern anthropology its rigorous scientific methodology, patterned after the natural sciences, and originated the notion of "culture" as learned behaviors.

The Human Biology Association, founded in 1974, is a professional organization that represents broadly the interests of human biologists in the U.S. and throughout the world.

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