Julia Steinberger's research is at the puzzling, yet important, intersection of the immaterial (human well-being) and the physical (environmental resource use), specifically trying to understand how much stuff is necessary to live a good life. She has been moving steadily through disciplines since she obtained her PhD in experimental atomic physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Since 2011, she is an Associate Professor in Ecological Economics at the University of Leeds. She has published widely and sometimes well, and is a Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th Assessment Report. She is the recipient of a Leverhulme Research Leadership Award for her research project "Living Well Within Limits" investigating how universal human well-being might be achieved within planetary boundaries.