Tim Kohler elected to National Academy of Sciences, remains busy in emeritus role

Kohler, right, and Fumi Arakawa at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the SAA in Vancouver, BC. Arakawa was the fourth of Kohler’s eight PhD students (as of fall 2022), and is currently director of the University Museum at New Mexico State University and a professor of anthropology there.

Emeritus Professor of Anthropology Tim Kohler was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in Spring 2022 and will be formally inducted in a Washington, DC, ceremony in April 2023.

Only three other still-living current or emeritus WSU faculty have been so honored.

An archaeologist and long-time Anthropology faculty member, Kohler formally retired in spring 2021 but remains active as a Regents professor emeritus, including guiding three current PhD students through their dissertations.

Not one for golf or pickleball, he spent fall 2021 in Kiel, a Baltic port on Germany’s northern reaches near the border with Denmark. There, he was affiliated with the large ROOTS project as the Johanna-Mestorf-Chair at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, working on various projects, including an international collaboration funded by NSF to chart levels of wealth inequality in prehistory that he co-directs with Prof. Amy Bogaard, an archaeologist at the University of Oxford. He also finished up his parts of the massive Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which included contributions to the chapter on North America for the Working Group II Report. Kohler was the first archaeologist since Karl Butzer to have a formal role in the IPCC process and the first to serve as a lead author.

In spring 2023, Kohler will begin a 10-week stint at the University of Durham (UK), where he’ll be associated with the lab of archaeologist Dan Lawrence, also a collaborator on the wealth-inequality project. Beyond working on aspects of that project, Kohler hopes to engage in some large-scale comparisons between the archaeology of the northern U.S. Southwest and the Neolithic in SW Asia, where Lawrence primarily works. Kohler will travel with his wife, Marilyn Von Seggern, a retired WSU librarian, and they look forward to traipsing across the bleak windswept moors of northeastern England in late winter.

A few recent publications show his range of interests, which he said seems to continually get larger (current and recent WSU Anthropology graduate students italicized):

Kemp, Luke, + 10 authors including Kohler

2022  Climate Endgame: A Research Agenda for Exploring Catastrophic Climate Change Scenarios. PNAS 119 (34) e2108146119.

Kohler, Timothy A., Darcy Bird, and David H. Wolpert

2022  Social Scale and Collective Computation: Does Information Processing Limit Rate of Growth in Scale? Journal of Social Computing 3(1):1-17.

Scheffer, Marten, Egbert van Nes, Darcy Bird, R. Kyle Bocinsky, and Timothy A. Kohler

2021  Loss of Resilience Preceded Transformation of Prehispanic Pueblo Societies. PNAS 118 (18) e2024397118.

Kohler, Timothy A. and Marcy Rockman

2020  The IPCC: A Primer for Archaeologists. American Antiquity 85(4):627–651.