Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Prize-winning...

...economist, died at age 95. From his obit in the Times:

Professor Arrow was widely hailed as a polymath, possessing prodigious knowledge of subjects far removed from economics. Eric Maskin, a Harvard economist and fellow Nobel winner, told of a good-natured conspiracy waged by junior faculty to get the better of Professor Arrow, even if artificially. They all agreed to study the breeding habits of gray whales — a suitably abstruse topic — and gathered at an appointed date at a place where Professor Arrow would be sure to visit.

When, as expected, he showed up, they were talking out loud about the theory by a marine biologist — last name, Turner — which purported to explain how gray whales found the same breeding spot year after year. As Professor Maskin recounted the story, “Ken was silent,” and his junior colleagues amused themselves that they had for once bested their formidable professor.

Well, not so fast.

Before leaving, Professor Arrow muttered, “But I thought that Turner’s theory was entirely discredited by Spencer, who showed that the hypothesized homing mechanism couldn’t possibly work.”

P. S. By the way, "The Marine Biologist" was one of Jerry Seinfeld's favorite episodes. At about 3:13 of this clip, Seinfeld explains that he and Larry David wrote the scene above "late, late that night before . . . We gave (Jason Alexander) this three-page monologue" about an hour before the scene was shot. As it was being filmed, Seinfeld remembers, "I'm looking at Jason and the only thought in my head was, 'I can't believe he's getting this all right. He memorized the whole scene in an hour!' "

1 comment:

Joe Tracy said...

I was JUST about to email you this! So great