Prof. dr. Henk A. Becker was born in Greifswald, Germany, in 1933. In 1946 he emigrated to the Netherlands, where he obtained his sociology degree (cum laude) at Leiden University in 1958. From 1956 to 1964 he held a staff position within a government ministry. From 1964 to 1968 he was the head of the research department of the Sociological Institute at the Netherlands School of Economics, which today is Erasmus University Rotterdam. He took his doctoral degree there in 1968 with a thesis on management careers, which concerned an early version of a normative career analysis and of a computerized career simulation. The University of Utrecht appointed him professor of sociology as well as of methodology of social research in 1968.
He organized his scientific work in line with the TRIPOD model, i.e., discussing (1) substantive issues, (2) methods and (3) meta-aspects of the relevant scientific discipline in a coherent manner. As regards substantive topics he is primarily concerned with careers and life in cohorts as well as in generations. As to methods he has published on computer simulations, cohorts analyses and social impact assessment. The meta-aspects concern the state of the art in sociology and related aspects of the science of philosophy. When lecturing at the University of Utrecht, he taught general sociology as well as the sociology of planning and policy.
He was dean of both a faculty and a sub-faculty and a committee member of science associations in the Netherlands and abroad. In 1996 he was knighted in the Order of the Netherlands Lion (Ridder in de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw). In the year 2000 the International Association for Impact Assessment presented him with the Rose-Hulman Award for his work on demographic impact assessments.
In 1998 he turned 65 and was accorded emeritus status, since which time he continues his scientific work on a part time basis.
Henk Becker is married to Johanna Enzlin. The couple has two daughters and two grandsons.
A detailed biography is provided in Henk A. Becker & John J.F. Schroots (Eds) 2008. Releasing the Potentials of Senior Scholars & Scientists, Utrecht: Igitur.