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In Memoriam: Norman T. Adler (1941 – 2016)
October 3, 2016
Norman Tenner Adler died on September 11, 2016 in Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Adler was instrumental in the development and promotion of our field as a researcher, author and editor, and educator. He hosted the 1971 annual meeting of SBN’s predecessor, the Conference on Reproductive Behavior, at Haverford College, and served as an Associate Editor of Hormones and Behavior for six years in the 1980’s.
Norm was born in Chicago and graduated from Harvard University in 1962. He was a graduate student of Howard Bern (comparative endocrinology) and Frank Beach (psychology) at UC-Berkeley, receiving his PhD in 1967, and a post-doc with C. H. Sawyer at UCLA. He became Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 and Professor in 1976. He carried out an important research program on mating and fertilization in rats. He demonstrated and analyzed the critical role of the male’s behavioral mating pattern in generating the female hormonal responses required for fertilization and implantation, thereby establishing the bidirectional and adaptive relationship between hormones and behavior. He edited important multi-authored books, including Neuroendocrinology of Reproduction: Physiology and Behavior (Plenum Press, 1981) and (with Donald Pfaff and Robert Goy) Handbook of Neurobiology, vol. 7: Reproduction (Plenum Press, 1985). Together these volumes consolidated and brought to wider attention new developments in behavioral neuroendocrinology and placed them in an evolutionary context. He served as the series editor for the Handbook of Behavioral Neurobiology and as Co-Editor of the Princeton University Press Monographs in Neuroethology. He founded and chaired the Program in the Biological Basis of Behavior at U. Penn, which became a model for others around the country. In 1989 he began a series of positions in academic administration, first as Associate Dean of the College, School of Arts and Sciences at U. Penn, next as Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education at Northeastern University, and subsequently as Dean and then Special Assistant for Curriculum Development and Research Initiatives at Yeshiva College.
Norm was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Charles A. Dana Foundation Prize for Pioneering Achievement in Higher Education (1988), two Guggenheim Fellowships (1985), the Lindbach Award for Distinguished Teaching (1976), a Sigma Xi National Lecturership (1974), and an American Psychological Association Early Career Award (1974). He was a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the International Academy of Sex Research, the American Psychological Association, and the Endocrine Society.
Norm was an inspiring mentor whose encouragement of independence and creativity had a large impact on his students. His brilliance and wit were a joy to experience. He leaves his wife, Sheila Stein, along with his children and grandchildren.