2019 IUSSP Laureate Ceremony for Alberto Palloni

PAA annual meeting in Austin, Texas on Wednesday 10 April 2019 


Alberto Palloni was presented with the IUSSP Laureate Award in the presence of his friends, family, colleagues and former students at a ceremony held in his honour during the annual meetings of the Population Association of America in Austin, Texas.  The ceremony included speeches by Tom LeGrand, Sam Preston, Hiram Beltram-Sanchez and Jenna Nobles highlighting Alberto Palloni’s exceptional contributions to the population field through his research, publications and teaching career that spans over 4 decades. The ceremony was filmed and, for those wanting to learn more about Alberto Palloni’s remarkable career as well as his current research, we invite you to view the videos (below) and to read his nomination letter and CV



Tom LeGrand introduced the IUSSP Laureate award and provided an overview of Alberto Palloni’s background and exceptional career. An Italian national raised and educated in Chile, Alberto came to the US for doctoral studies, and received his PhD in Sociology at the University of Washington. He went on to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he became the Samuel H. Preston and E.T. Young Professor of Population and International Studies and is currently an Emeritus Professor of Sociology . During his career, he has held many visiting professorships at major international universities and received several prestigious awards for his research and contributions to the field on a range of topics in the broad areas of health, morbidity and mortality.



Sam Preston, whose talk was entitled “Alberto Palloni: the man and the myth” began by describing his first encounter with Alberto Palloni as a graduate student.  He went on to explain the qualities that made Alberto one of the most productive demographers in the world over the past 4 decades. These include his technical talents as a statistician and demographer, his insistence on rigorous causal reasoning, and his thirst to identify new issues. Alberto’s contributions and discoveries led to new developments in many substantive areas including the measurement of mortality, the analysis of interbirth intervals, the study of demographic change in Latin America, the demography and epidemiology of AIDS, household size and structure, the Hispanic “mortality paradox”, demographic responses to economic fluctuations and deforestation, biodemography, and early life factors in adult mortality variation.



Hiram Beltram-Sanchez focused on Alberto Palloni’s fundamental contributions to our understanding of the demography of Latin America, which no scholar of population change in Latin America can ignore, and the influence he has had on Latin American population research and researchers. 


Jenna Nobles focused on Alberto Palloni’s impact through his influence on colleagues and students. In preparation for her talk, she conducted interviews with 15 of his former PhD Students. All of them stressed the exceptional scope of Alberto’s thinking, describing him as someone who was ahead of his time in pushing the frontiers of research. He possessed a broad view of social sciences that, in turn, broadened the scope of thinking for those who worked with him. His rigor and thirst to identify new issues at times made completing projects a challenge, but all accorded that working with Alberto made them better researchers and led them to make their own important contributions to the field.



After the speeches and presentation of the award, Alberto Palloni took the floor to thank all those who had nominated him, expressing both his surprise at the award as well as thanks for the recognition. He took a moment to respond to some of the memories shared by the presenters about his work as well as recounting his latest endeavor.  In his retirement, he has moved away from population studies to pursue a second PhD combining genetics, developmental biology, mathematics and evolutionary biology. He thinks this will help him answer lingering questions about the relationship between the early conditions of human life and subsequent adult health and longevity – a topic that that he had approached via demography.  Alberto Palloni continues to be ahead of his time, pursuing difficult, big questions. 



Introduction: IUSSP President Tom LeGrand


Sam Preston on “Alberto Palloni: the man and the myth


Hiram Beltram Sanchez: Alberto Palloni’s contribution to the demography of Latin America


Jenna Nobles: Alberto Palloni’s influence on the field through work of students and colleagues


Alberto Palloni: Thanks and reflections