Dag Olav Hessen earned a candidatus realium degree in zoology in 1982, a Master’s in public law in 1984, and a doctorate in biology in 1988. In 1993 he was appointed professor of biology at the University of Oslo. He has been a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters since 1998. Hessen is the leader of the “Centre for Biogeochemistry in the Anthropocene” at the University of Oslo.
In his publications Hessen addresses themes such as ecology, evolution, and food systems, connecting them other disciplines such as ethics and philosophy. He has published several books on popular science and has been awarded, among other prizes, the Fritt Ord Honorary Award, the Riksmål Society Literature Prize, the Akademikerprisen and the Humanistprisen.