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Ullica Segerstrale

Ullica Segerstrale, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology







116 Siegel Hall


Ph.D., Harvard University, Sociology
M.A., University of Pennsylvania, Communication
M.S., University of Helsinki, Organic Chemistry
M.S., University of Helsinki, Sociology

Research Interests 

Science and values
Scientific conduct and misconduct
Scientific controversies
Social impact of emerging technologies
Human nature and human future
Social and psychological aspects of architecture and design
Social communication
Higher education
Collaboration across disciplines


Segerstrale is a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science and a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters. Her research has been supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, and the Rockefeller and Sloan foundations, among others. She is the recipient of a number of awards for teaching, leadership and research, including IIT’s Julia Beveridge Award.

At Illinois Tech she has served as chair of the Social Sciences Department and co-director of Illinois Tech's first Summer in Paris program. Earlier positions included acting chair of sociology at Abo Akademi University, Finland; Distinguished Senior Researcher at the National Academy of Finland; fellow of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZIF) in Bielefeld, Germany; visiting professor of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich; and Fulbright Fellow. She currently serves on the editorial boards of a number of academic journals.

Segerstrale has given over 150 academic presentations, including keynote addresses at international conferences and lectures in academic lecture series, among others to the International Council of Science (ICSU), the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and the European Microbiological Laboratory (EMBL). Her topics lie typically at the intersection of the Two Cultures; they include science and values, collaboration between scientists, humanists and social scientists, the ethics of research, social aspects of architecture and design, the social impact of emerging technologies, and the future of human nature. Among her current interests is education for the 21st century, and identifying and nurturing creativity.

She is the author of over 100 academic publications. Her books include Defenders of the Truth: The Battle for Science in the Sociobiology Debate and Beyond (Oxford, 2000), Beyond the Science Wars: The Missing Discourse about Science and Society (SUNY Press, 2000) and Nonverbal Communication: Where Nature Meets Culture (Erlbaum, 1997). Defenders of the Truth has been translated into Japanese, Beyond the Science Wars into Chinese, and Nonverbal Communication into Hungarian. Her newest book, Nature's Oracle, an intellectual biography of the evolutionist W.D. (Bill) Hamilton ("Darwin of the 20th century"), was published by Oxford University Press in 2013.

Selected Publications 


Nature's Oracle: The Life and Work of W. D. Hamilton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

Defenders of the Truth: The Battle for Science in the Sociobiology Debate and Beyond (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).

Editor, Beyond the Science Wars: The Missing Discourse about Science and Society (Albany: SUNY Press, 2000).

Co-Editor (with Peter Molnar), Nonverbal Communication: Where Nature Meets Culture (Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1997).

Articles and chapters

"Implicit and Explicit ’Customized Science’ – the Case of Evolutionary Biology.” in ”Customized Science”? The Impact of World Views on Contemporary Science,” Mikael Stenmark and Ulf Zachariasson (eds.), Palgrave McMillan (forthcoming).

”The Heart of the Humanities.”  Eruditio, Vol 1, Issue 1, September 2012, pp. 161-170.

“Sociobiology”, In William Sims Bainbridge (ed.) Leadership in Science and Technology, Vol. II (Case Studies). Sage Publs. 2012, pp. 564-572.

Reviews of Nature’s Oracle: Tjhe Life of W. D. Hamilton:

Economist | Guardian | Kirkus | Nature | Telegraph | Science