2005: Thomas Schelling
Thomas C. Schelling has been a very important contributor to the fields of economics and game theory. In 2005, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his contributions to game theory, the crowning achievement of his long and storied career in politics, business, and academia spanning over sixty years.
His expertise and his impact is extensive and varied: military strategy and arms control, energy and environmental policy, climate change, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, organized crime, foreign aid and international trade, conflict and bargaining theory, racial segregation and integration, the military draft, health policy, tobacco and drugs policy, and ethical issues in public policy and in business.
He has authored or co-authored eight books, including the highly influential The Strategy of Conflict (1960), which pioneered the study of bargaining and strategic behavior, and is considered one of the hundred most influential Western books since 1945. It is here that he introduced the concept of the focal point, now commonly called the Schelling point.
He served in the Economic Cooperation Administration in Europe, and has held positions in the White House and Executive Office of the President, Yale University, the RAND Corporation, the Department of Economics and Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, and the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs.
Dr. Schelling has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1991 he was President of the American Economic Association, of which he is a Distinguished Fellow. He was the recipient of the Frank E. Seidman Distinguished Award in Political Economy and the National Academy of Sciences award for Behavioral Research Relevant to the Prevention of Nuclear War in 1993.
Dr. Schelling received his bachelors degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1944, and his PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1951. He is the recipient of two honorary doctorate degrees from the RAND Graduate School of Policy Analysis and Erasmus University Rotterdam.