Thursday, October 21, 2010

NSF ScienceLives interviews me on market design

The NSF writes about market design by interviewing me...
Economist Finds Best Matches for Students and Schools
By Ellen Ferrante, National Science Foundation

Some of the questions are about market design, and you'll have to click on the link above if you want to read my answers to those.  But some of the questions were designed to personalize science, and here are those, and my answers...

"What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
"There’s no limit to what a person can accomplish if he isn’t worried about who gets the credit. "

"What was your first scientific experiment as a child?
"I went to public school in NYC, and as I recall we had science fairs each year starting in grade school. The first projects I recall weren’t experiments; they were demonstrations, little bits of engineering. I remember that I built a carbon arc furnace out of boards, a flower pot, curtain rods and pieces of carbon from the core of a flashlight battery.

"What is your favorite thing about being a researcher?
"You can schedule your own mind. There are plenty of jobs in which a person has an opportunity to solve interesting problems, but a researcher, particularly an academic researcher, gets to choose which problems to work on.

"Who has had the most influence on your thinking as a researcher?
"I think my older brother Ted first persuaded me that science was exciting, and I learned a lot from my Ph.D. advisor at Stanford, Bob Wilson. Over the long term, the group of people from whom I’ve learned the most are my students and post-docs and co-investigators; I’ve been very fortunate in who I’ve been able to work with. "

"If you could only rescue one thing from your burning office or lab, what would it be?
"As often as not there’s a student or postdoc in my office. I’d rescue him or her. "

And here's the picture they ran, over the caption "Al Roth and Marilda Sotomayor photographed with their 1990 book “Two-Sided Matching,” at the conference Roth and Sotomayor: Twenty Years After, held at Duke University in May, 2010. Credit: Marilda Sotomayor"

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