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Another Israeli Nobel Prize winner - Yisrael Aumann

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Israeli Nobel Prize winner - Yisrael Aumann

Another Israeli has gotten the Nobel prize, this time for game theory. Given the number of Jewish Nobel prize winners (there's one almost every year), the fact that Israel has about 40% of the world's Jews and the high proportion of scientists in Israel, it would seem that Israel is under-represented among Nobel Prize winners. According to Aumann, Israel has become number 1 in game theory. This is due in part perhaps, to the legacy of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, as well as to the large emphasis on mathematics in this country. Kahneman was an American born Israeli who did most of his work in the United States, but had an important influence on Israeli thinking in games theory and judgment in conditions of uncertainly. 

Do those boycott people really want to cut themselves off from Israeli science?

Yisrael Aumann of the Hebrew University got the prize for game theory. Basically, he showed that the parameters of subjective probability and judgment of opponents change during protracted negotiations. If you keep talking, there is much more likelihood of reaching an agreement.

Aumann's website: http://economics.huji.ac.il/facultye/aumann/aumann.html

The Nobel Prize press release:  http://nobelprize.org/economics/laureates/2005/press.html

Comment on the the Israeli Nobel Peace Prize Winner here


Last update - 19:14 10/10/2005

Israeli Nobel Prize winner: Israel is No. 1 in game theory

By Tamara Traubman, Haaretz Correspondent, The Associated Press and Haaretz Service

Yisrael Aumann, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who holds dual American and Israeli citizenship, and Thomas C. Schelling, an American, have won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Monday.

Speaking to Israel Radio, Aumann said Israel has become the No. 1 world power in the game theory field.

Aumann and Schelling won the $1.3 million prize "for having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis," the academy said.

"I think game theory creates ideas that are important in solving and approaching conflict in general," Aumann told the awards ceremony by telephone from Israel.

Asked whether it could help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said: "I do hope that perhaps some game theory can be used and be part of this solution."

Aumann had not decided what to do with the prize money. "I am totally overwhelmed. I had absolutely no idea," he said.

Through their work, Aumann, 75, and Schelling, 84, have helped to "explain economic conflicts such as price wars and trade wars, as well as why some communities are more successful than others in managing common-pool resources," the academy said in its citation. "The repeated-games approach clarifies the raison d'etre of many institutions, ranging from merchant guilds and organized crime to wage negotiations and international trade agreements."

Aumann was cited for his analysis of "infinitely repeated games" to identify what outcomes can be maintained over time.

"Insights into these issues help explain economic conflicts such as price wars and trade wars, as well as why some communities are more successful than others in managing common-pool resources," said the citation.

Aumann, who was born in Frankfurt, Germany, immigrated to New York with his family in 1938. He studied mathematics in New York and completed his undergraduate and graduate studies over there. He then went to MIT to write his doctoral dissertation and is now a professor at the Center for Rationality at the Hebrew University.

Schelling is a professor at the University of Maryland's department of economics and a professor emeritus at Harvard.

Upon earning his doctorate, Aumann moved to Princeton and began researching the games theory, then a field in its early days. He immigrated to Israel in 1956 and became a staff member at the Hebrew University Mathematics Institute, where he taught until his retirement.

In his research Aumann developed tools for accurate analysis of economic systems where player groups have great influence over the final result, while individual players have very little influence over the outcome of processes.

Last year two biochemistry professors from the Technion, Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Hershko, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Two years ago, Daniel Kahneman, an American-born Israeli, won the Nobel Prize in economics for his studies on decision-making in situations of uncertainty.

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