Börje Steenberg was born August 6, 1912, in Stockholm, Sweden, where his father was inspector of schools. He received his education in Sweden up to and including his doctorate from Stockholm University.He started his career at Royal Institute of Technology, where he was assistant professor of physical chemistry from 1939 to 1943 and associate professor until 1945. In 1946, he was named head of the paper department of the Swedish Pulp & Paper Research Institute (STFI), a post he held until 1968, when he became head of the Institute. In 1947, Dr. Steenberg was named full professor of paper technology at the Royal Institute of Technology, the first at that level emeriting, in 1979. He served from 1968 through 1974 at FAO Rome, first as director of Forest & Forest Industrial Division and then as assistant director general.
In his academic and industry career activities, Dr. Steenberg covered all aspects of papermaking research and development, from the forest to finished paper and wood products. He was consulted on the building of more than 20 paper machines He developed the concept of “paper as a visco-elastic body,” which not only led to an understanding of the physical properties of paper but also to means of controlling these properties when paper is being made. He also developed a screening theory and screening system designs which have been applied worldwide to improve quality and lower the cost of cleaned stock.
Dr. Steenberg is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the Royal Academy of Forestry and Agriculture; a member of the Finnish Academy of Engineering Sciences; the Italian Academy of Forestry; International Academy of Wood Science; New York Academy of Sciences; 50 year member of ASC; TAPPI; PAPTAC; and SPCI. He was secretary from 1953 to 1959 of IUPAC division, Paper and Board; and served as chair and advisor to a number of FAO conferences (United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization).
He has written more than 120 publications and has given formal papers at numerous conferences worldwide. He holds several patents relating to the paper industry. His honors include the TAPPI Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal; SPCI Ekman Medal, Sweden; Mitscherlich Medal, Germany; and he was given an honorary doctorate of forest science in Sweden. Equally impressive, four of his former students have been awarded the TAPPI Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal: Stockman, 1985; Bergstrom, 1991; Wahlstrom, 1992; and Wahren, 1998.
Dr. Steenberg married Dr. Elisa Hald on October 15, 1940. They have two children, Kjell and Ann.