Title: Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Company: Georgia Institute of Technology
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Bryan G. Norton, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Georgia Institute of Technology, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Scientists for dedication, achievements, and leadership in environmental education and research.
Having grown up on a farm, Dr. Norton always felt close to the natural world. He had been interested in the environment and environmental problems since childhood, but chose a different path in school. After 10 years of working with central philosophy, he realized he could use some of his knowledge to address issues in the environment. Dr. Norton was thrilled at the opportunity to return to his roots, and quickly created a simple curriculum project with other faculty members to teach course on humanities and the environment. The idea was a success, and he spent the rest of his career dedicated to it.
Dr. Norton’s professional journey initially began at the University of Michigan, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1966, worked as a lecturer, teaching fellow, and Danforth teaching training supervisor from 1967 to 1970, and earned a PhD in philosophy in 1970. He then served in a variety of roles, including assistant, associate, and full professor of philosophy at the New College of Florida, research associate for the Center for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and Gilbert White fellow for Resources for the Future. In 1988, Dr. Norton joined the Georgia Institute of Technology as a professor in the School of Social Sciences, and knew he had found a home. Over the next 22 years, he served the school as the acting director of the Philosophy, Science & Technology Program and a distinguished professor of the School of Public Affairs. During his time there, he also held positions like associate scientist at the Atlanta-Fulton County Zoo, visiting professor at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory at the University of Maryland, visiting lecturer in the Executive Degree Program in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, and visiting fellow of the Environmental Policy Institute of the U.S. Army. He retired in 2014 as a distinguished professor emeritus.
Some of the highlights of Dr. Norton’s career include developing the environmental ethics position of “weak anthropocentrism,” developing “risk decision squares” for environmental policy analysis, and being the first to show the influences of American pragmatists on Aldo Leopold and environmentalism. As a leader of the environmental pragmatism movement, he is also credited with proposing a “convergence hypothesis” linking human and natural values. Dr. Norton is particularly proud of these achievements because, back when he started working on biological diversity back in the 1980s, few others were talking about the subjects. He was the first person who studied philosophy in the context of public policy, and feels he made important contributions to sustainability.
A respected voice in the field, Dr. Norton was a member of the board of directors of Defenders of Wildlife, a consultant for the Eastern Research Group and the Research Triangle Institute, and a member of both the Environmental Economics Advisory Committee and the Science Advisory Board of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He has also been active in various species protection efforts, having authored books such as “Sustainability: A Philosophy of Adaptive Ecosystem Management,” “Searching for Sustainability,” and “Toward Unity Among Environmentalists.” Further, Dr. Norton has contributed to pieces like “Philosophy of Science” and “Environmental Ethics.” He was recognized for his talents with the National Winner Award in Environmental Affairs and the National Political Science Honor Award from Pi Sigma Alpha.
Now in retirement, Dr. Norton enjoys reading and politics. He also remains interested in his field, and is currently working on a paper on Farmer Field Schools, a program of the Food and Agriculture Organization in the United Nations. He is also trying to develop a “flexible notion of sustainability that recognizes the challenges of rapidly changing climate.”
Contact Dr. Norton