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Börje Steenberg

by Susan J. Ainsworth
June 22, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 25

Photo of Börje Steenberg.

Börje Steenberg, 102, a professor of paper technology emeritus at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, died on Jan. 17.

Born in Stockholm, Steenberg received a Ph.D. in chemistry from Stockholm University in 1944.

He then served as an associate professor of physical chemistry at the institute until 1945, when he moved to the Swedish Pulp & Paper Research Institute.

In 1947, he returned to the Royal Institute of Technology, serving as a full professor of paper technology until 1979. Concurrently, from 1968 until 1974, he served the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization first as director of its forestry division and later as assistant director-general.

In his work, Steenberg studied all aspects of papermaking R&D.

He received numerous accolades, including induction into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in Appleton, Wis., in 2001.

Steenberg was a member of many professional societies and an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1946.

According to his colleagues, Steenberg was a curiosity-driven, determined scientist who had a heart for physical chemistry. They also remember him as an entrepreneurial soul, fantastic mentor, and demanding leader with a generous and helpful nature, a sharp intellect, and an aptitude for big-picture thinking.

Steenberg is survived by a son, a daughter, and two grandchildren. His wife, Elisa Hald, whom he married in 1940, died in 2010.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.


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