Hebrew University professor wins Nobel Prize in Economics


Nobel Prize winner in economics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Robert J. Aumann beams as Hebrew University President Prof. Menachem Magidor (right) shakes hands with Swedish Ambassador to Israel Robert Rydberg during a press conference following the announcement of the awarding of the prize to Aumann. (photo by Sasson Tiram)
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Jerusalem, Oct. 10, 2005 Prof. Emeritus Robert J. (Yisrael) Aumann of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was named today as the co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics for 2005.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that Aumann and Prof. Thomas C. Schelling of the Univeresity of Maryland will share this year's prize "for having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis."

Prof. Aumann is an internationally known researcher in the area of game theory. In its award statement, the Swedish Academy stated that "Robert Aumann was the first to conduct a full-fledged formal analysis of so-called infinitely repeated games. His research identified exactly what outcomes can be upheld over time in long-run relations."

Aumann is a professor emeritus in the Institute of Mathematics at the Hebrew University and a member of the university's interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Rationality . He previously occupied the S.A. Schonbrunn Chair of Mathematical Economics.

At a press conference attended by Israeli and international media, Hebrew University President Prof. Menachem Magidor said that "Prof. Aumann has deserved this prize for many years." He said the announcement of the prize "has brought pride and happiness to the university, to the State of Israel and to all of Israeli academia."

President Magidor, also a mathematician, noted that he was a former student and colleague of Prof. Aumann. He expressed confidence that the Hebrew University would see more Nobel Prizes in mathematics "since we are a world center of excellence" in the field.

Prof. Aumann is the first currently affiliated faculty member of the University to receive a Nobel Prize. However, Prof. Daniel Kahneman, formerly a faculty member of the Hebrew University and now at Princeton University, also won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002. Prof. Kahneman is still affiliated with the Hebrew University's Center for Rationality. Three others, who are graduates of the Hebrew University, won Nobel Prizes last year: Prof. Avram Hershko and Prof. Aaron Ciechanover, winners of the Prize in chemistry, and Prof. David J. Gross, winner of the 2004 prize in physics.

In his remarks at the press conference, Prof. Aumann emphasized that the prize in game theory is not only an honor for him, but also all for all of those who have had such an important role in developing the field. "This is a prize for the world game theory community," he said.

Remarks, in Hebrew, were also conveyed by the Swedish Ambassador to Israel Robert Rydberg, who congratulated Aumann in the name of the king and government of Sweden. Also congratulating Aumann was the dean of the Faculty of Science, Prof. Hermona Soreq.

Robert J. Aumann was born in Frankfort, Germany, in 1930 and came to America in 1938 with his parents and brother. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from City College, New York, in 1950, and a PhD. From Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1955, followed by post-doctoral work at Princeton University in New Jersey.

He immigrated to Israel in 1956, becoming an instructor at the Hebrew University, rising to the rank of full professor in 1968 and professor emeritus in 2000. He has served as a visiting professor at Princeton, Yale and Stanford universities, the University of California at Berkeley, and New York University, Stony Brook. He is the author nearly 100 scientific papers and six books. He has won the Israel Prize, and many other honors. He is the father of five and the grandfather of 18.

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