Department: Anthropology Program
Stefan Helmreich received his B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles (Anthropology, 1989) and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University (Anthropology, 1995). He has worked as a Postdoctoral Associate in Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University, an External Faculty Fellow at the Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture at Rutgers University, and as Assistant Professor of Science and Society at New York University. Helmreich's anthropological research centers on contemporary biologists puzzling through the conceptual and technical boundaries of the category of life itself. He has written extensively on Artificial Life, a field dedicated to the computer simulation of living systems, notably in Silicon Second Nature: Culturing Artificial Life in a Digital World (University of California Press, 1998), which in 2001 won the Diana Forsythe Book Prize from the American Anthropological Association. He is at work on a book about how scientific portraits of the oceans are transforming as marine biologists reimagine the sea through the language and techniques of genomics, bioinformatics, biotechnology, biodiversity mapping, and systems modeling. Entitled Alien Ocean: An Anthropology of Marine Biology and the Limits of Life, the monograph zeroes in on recent work in marine microbiology, reporting on fieldwork undertaken with scientists at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and in areas of the open ocean outside national sovereignty.