21st Century

Julia K. Steinberger

Julia K. Steinberger (born 1974) is Professor of Ecological Economics at the University of Lausanne.[1][4] She studies the relationships between the use of resources and performance of societies. She is an author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report, contributing to the report’s discussion of climate change mitigation pathways.[5]

Education and early life

Steinberger, daughter of Nobel laureate in Physics Jack Steinberger, studied science at the Collège de Saussure in Switzerland, where she was awarded the de Saussure prize in 1993. Steinberger moved to the United States for her graduate degree, working at Brown University on the cosmic microwave background.[6] She earned her PhD studying ultracold atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[7] She worked in the centre for ultracold atoms with Thomas Greytak and Daniel Kleppner,[2] developing new ways to trap ultracold hydrogen and deuterium.[8][9] The comparison of hyperfine splitting in the ground and excited state is expected to test quantum electrodynamics. During graduate school Steinberger was a member of the MIT Social Justice Cooperative.[10][11][12]

Research and career

Steinberger was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Lausanne and then the University of Zurich, working alongside Claudia R. Binder.[2][13] Steinberger was appointed Senior Researcher at the University of Klagenfurt Institute of Social Ecology in 2007.[14] Her research considers the relationships between the use of resources (energy, materials and emission of greenhouse gases) and performance of societies (wellbeing and economic output).[15][16] She is interested in identifying new development pathways toward a low carbon society.[17] She joined the University of Leeds as an associate professor in ecological economics in 2011.[18] She is a member of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP).[19] On 1 August 2020, Steinberger joined the University of Lausanne as a full professor on the social impact of climate change.[20]

Steinberger showed the greenhouse gas emissions of global cities depends on the relation between geophysical and technical factors.[21] She has also investigated the textile chain, food waste and materials use.[22][23][24][25] Steinberger is a member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) iBUILD (Infrastructure BUsiness models, valuation and Innovation for Local Delivery).[26][27]

Steinberger is the Principal Investigator on the Leverhulme Trust Project “Living Well Within Limits”.[28] The project investigates what the biophysical requirements are for human well-being, and the influence of social provisioning on the levels of resource associated with this.[28] The project also looks to understand how the world’s limited resources could be used to preserve human wellbeing.[28] To achieve this, Steinberger believes it is necessary to define what a “good” life is, understand what the requirements are for wellbeing and the context surrounding international inequality.[29]

Steinberger has studied how humanity can maintain a good quality of life without damaging the planet.[30] She argues that to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals the world must move away from growth and toward an economic model that promotes sustainability and equity.[30] Steinberger and colleagues visualised the relationship between national performance in several environmental sustainability indicators and social thresholds for a ‘good life’.[31][32]

In 2020, Harrabin reported on her research on the responsibility of the rich for climate change.[33]

Steinberger supports the work of Greta Thunberg and the school strike for climate activists.[34] She was one of 238 academics who called for the European Union to limit economic growth and instead promote stability and wellbeing.[35] Steinberger has been the Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th Assessment Report for Working Group 3.[36] She was also Lead Author on the Urbanisation knowledge module of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) Global Energy Assessment.[37] She is on the Steering Committee of Future Earth.[38]

In October 2022, Steinberger participated at a road blockage in Bern with the Swiss ecological movement Renovate Switzerland, and glued her hand to the pavement alongside five other people.[39]

Personal life

Steinberger is the daughter of Jack Steinberger and Cynthia Steinberger.[40] She is the half-sister of musical instrument and industrial designer Ned Steinberger.


  1. Jump up to:a b Julia Steinberger publications indexed by Google Scholar 
  2. Jump up to:a b c d Steinberger, Julia K. (2004). Progress towards high precision measurements on ultracold metastable hydrogen and trapping deuterium (PhD thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. hdl:1721.1/28649OCLC 655586822
  3. ^ Julia K. Steinberger. Curriculum Vitae, 2011 (PDF, Retrieved 14 October 2022.)
  4. ^ Julia Steinberger publications from Europe PubMed Central
  5. ^ “How to spot and respond to climate deniers”The Independent. 12 August 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  6. ^ “TFBCON2003 (Students): Julia Steinberger ’97”www.math.brown.edu. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  7. ^ Steinberger, Julia K. (2004). Progress towards high precision measurements on ultracold metastable hydrogen and trapping deuterium (Thesis thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. hdl:1721.1/28649.
  8. ^ “Ultracold Hydrogen Group Personal”web.mit.edu. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  9. ^ Johnson, Cort; Matos, Lia; Newman, Bonna; Steinberger, Julia; vant, Kendra; Yi, Peng; Ueno, Tomohiro; Willmann, Lorenz; Greytak, Thomas (2003). “Developments with Ultracold Hydrogen”. APS Division of Atomic34: D1.067. Bibcode:2003APS..DMP.D1067J.
  10. ^ “Volume 122, Issue 1 – The Tech”tech.mit.edu. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  11. ^ “Michelle Povinelli: Adventures in Activism”web.mit.edu. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  12. ^ “Commencement Day Crackdown”www.mit.edu. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  13. ^ “Julia K. Steinberger Homepage”public.julias.promessage.com. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  14. ^ “Social Ecology Vienna | www.sume.at”www.sume.at. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  15. ^ “Julia K Steinberger, Author at World Social Science Blog”World Social Science Blog. Archived from the original on 23 January 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  16. ^ “Growth and sustainability: When can enough be enough?” (PDF). lancaster.ac.uk. 31 January 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  17. ^ “LIDA Seminar: The answer to life, the universe and everything?”cdrc.ac.uk. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  18. ^ “Julia Steinberger”Bluedot Festival. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  19. ^ “Julia Steinberger”cccep.ac.uk. Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  20. ^ “Julia Steinberger, professeure ordinaire”unil.ch/gse/home/ (in Swiss French). University of Lausanne, Faculty of Geosciences and Environment. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  21. ^ Kennedy, Christopher; Steinberger, Julia; Gasson, Barrie; Hansen, Yvonne; Hillman, Timothy; Havránek, Miroslav; Pataki, Diane; Phdungsilp, Aumnad; Ramaswami, Anu (2009). “Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Global Cities”Environmental Science & Technology43 (19): 7297–7302. Bibcode:2009EnST…43.7297Kdoi:10.1021/es900213pISSN 0013-936XPMID 19848137.
  22. ^ Papargyropoulou, Effie; Lozano, Rodrigo; K. Steinberger, Julia; Wright, Nigel; Ujang, Zaini bin (2014). “The food waste hierarchy as a framework for the management of food surplus and food waste” (PDF). Journal of Cleaner Production76: 106–115. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.04.020ISSN 0959-6526S2CID 154562712
  23. ^ Steinberger, Julia K.; Krausmann, Fridolin; Eisenmenger, Nina (2010). “Global patterns of materials use: A socioeconomic and geophysical analysis”. Ecological Economics69 (5): 1148–1158. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.12.009ISSN 0921-8009
  24. ^ Weisz, Helga; Steinberger, Julia K (2010). “Reducing energy and material flows in cities”Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability2 (3): 185–192. Bibcode:2010COES….2..185Wdoi:10.1016/j.cosust.2010.05.010ISSN 1877-3435. Archived from the original on 13 September 2020. Retrieved 4 December 2019. 
  25. ^ Steinberger, Julia; Friot, Damien; Jolliet, Olivier; Erkman, Suren (2009). “A spatially explicit life cycle inventory of the global textile chain”The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment14 (5): 443–455. doi:10.1007/s11367-009-0078-4ISSN 0948-3349S2CID 153975438.
  26. ^ “iBUILD – Newcastle University”research.ncl.ac.uk. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  27. ^ University of Leeds (19 May 2017). “Valuing Infrastructure Conference 2017 – Julia Steinberger”youtube.com. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  28. Jump up to:a b c “Living Well Within Limits [LiLi] : Homepage of the LiLi Leverhulme Research Leadership Award Project”lili.leeds.ac.uk. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  29. ^ “EESS talk on “Well-being and climate change mitigation: the Living Well Within Limits approach””memento.epfl.ch. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  30. Jump up to:a b Steinberger, Julia K.; William F. Lamb; Fanning, Andrew L.; O’Neill, Daniel W. (2018). “A good life for all within planetary boundaries” (PDF). Nature Sustainability1 (2): 88–95. doi:10.1038/s41893-018-0021-4ISSN 2398-9629S2CID 169679920
  31. ^ “Home”A Good Life For All Within Planetary Boundaries. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  32. ^ “About”A Good Life For All Within Planetary Boundaries. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  33. ^ Harrabin, Roger (16 March 2020). “Climate change: The rich are to blame, international study finds”BBC News. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  34. ^ Steinberger, Julia (17 February 2019). “Gaslighting the climate-striking students”medium.com. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  35. ^ Letters (16 September 2018). “The EU needs a stability and wellbeing pact, not more growth”The GuardianISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  36. ^ “IPCC Authors (beta)”archive.ipcc.ch. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  37. ^ “Urban Energy Systems” (PDF). iiasa.ac.at. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  38. ^ “Steering Committee”futureearth.org. Future Earth. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  39. ^ “‘We Don’t Have Much Time Left’: Co-Author of UN Climate Report Detained at Climate Protest”www.vice.com. 12 October 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  40. ^ “The Nobel Prize in Physics 1988”nobelprize.org. Retrieved 7 April 2019.

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