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Åsa Kilbom, Professor of Work Physiology for many years at the Swedish National Institute for Working Life (formerly Institute of Occupational Health), died on 30 October 2005, after a long illness. Her untimely death deprives us of a giant in the field of ergonomics who was also a valued and caring colleague, teacher, and friend.
Åsa was born in 1938 in Stockholm, Sweden, where she grew up and was educated. She graduated from Karolinska Medical School in 1965 and started her career at the Swedish Institute of Occupational Health as a laboratory physician in 1967. She became Director of the Division of Applied Physiology in 1975 and Professor in 1983—for many years she was the only woman professor at the Institute. She remained at the Institute for her entire professional life, except for a visiting professorship at the University of Sydney in 1987–88, until a sudden illness in the summer of 1999 forced her retirement.
In her research, Åsa first concentrated on circulatory physiology, particularly on the effects of physical exercise, and later investigated the …