Ullica Segerstrale

  • Professor of Sociology

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 the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award (2017), the Julia Beveridge Award, and other awards for teaching, leadership and research.

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 (paperback 2015).


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

The future of education

Science and values

Creativity and innovation

Social impact of emerging technologies

Scientific conduct and misconduct

Human nature and human future

Social aspects of architecture and design

Social communication

Collaboration across disciplines



Nonverbal Communication: Where Nature Meets Culture, ed. with Peter Molnar,Routledge series on Comparative Psychology, 2018 (republished) (earlier Lawrence Erlbaum, 1997).

Nature's Oracle: The Life and Work of W. D. Hamilton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, 2015).

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

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

Recent articles and chapters

“Education for Creativity, Skills, and Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration”. Paper delivered at IEEE-WAAS Conference on Cognitive Computing (IEEE ICCI*CC 2019, Milan), published in Proceedings, IEEE CS Press, 2019.

“Normative Implications of Neuroscience and Sociobiology – Intended and Perceived”. In Geoffrey Holtzman and Elisabeth Hildt (eds.) Does Neuroscience Have Normative Implications? Springer Verlag , 2018.

"The Teacher as Catalyst: Skills Development & Self-Discovery in Group Contexts". Eruditio, Vol 2, Issue 4, July 2018.

“A Sociological Verdict on Science Fraud”. Review of Nachman Ben-Yahuda and Almaya Oliver-Lumerman Misconduct in Research, University of Michigan Press, 2016. Contemporary Sociology, Vol 48, Issue 3, 2018.

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

Economist | Guardian | Kirkus | Nature | Telegraph | Science