Thursday, September 1, 2016

Reinhard Selten (1930-2016)

Reinhard Selten, a pioneer in both game theory and experimental economics, passed away last week. Rosemarie Nagel and Eyal Winter wrote this morning with the news. Here is an obituary from the Frankfurter Allgemeine
Trauer um berühmten Ökonom
Wirtschaftsnobelpreisträger Reinhard Selten gestorben
Der Mathematiker und Ökonom Reinhard Selten ist tot, wie die F.A.Z. aus seinem Umfeld erfuhr. Er war der bisher einzige Deutsche, der jemals den Ökonomie-Nobelpreis erhalten hat. 
Google translates the headline this way:
"Mourning famous economist
died Nobel laureate Reinhard Selten
The mathematician and economist Reinhard Selten is dead, as the FAZ learned from his environment. He was so far the only German who has ever received the Nobel Prize in economics."

That obit comes with this undated  photo:

Here's a picture of the two of us that Axel Ockenfels took in Cologne in 2006
Reinhard Selten and Al Roth
Update: further obituaries
Reinhard Selten, German Nobel economist, dies aged 85

Reinhard Selten, Game Theorist Who Won Nobel Prize, Dies at 85
"Reinhard Selten was born on Oct. 5, 1930, in Breslau, a German city before World War II and now called Wroclaw in present-day Poland. His father ran a magazine-lending business, which the Nazi regime forced him to sell because he was Jewish.
"Selten and his mother were Protestant, yet his father’s Jewish roots forced Selten to leave school at 14 and he was refused entry to a trade. They left Breslau and became refugees in the German states of Saxony and Hesse as well as in Austria, where he worked as a farm hand after the war. His life in a village in Hesse required walking 3 ½ hours to and from school, during which he solved mathematical problems, he said in his biography for the Nobel Foundation.

“My situation as a member of an officially despised minority forced me to pay close attention to political matters very early in my life,” he said. “I had to learn to trust my own judgment rather than official propaganda or public opinion. This was a strong influence on my intellectual development.”
"Selten and his wife, the former Elisabeth Langreiner, were proficient in Esperanto, an invented language devised in the 19th century to assist international communication."

Reinhard Selten, Deutschlands einziger Ökonomie-Nobelpreisträger ist tot
Google t: Reinhard Selten, Germany's only Nobel laureate in economics is dead
"Reinhard Selten was like many older men with disheveled white hair and a little too big, held by suspenders suit. He chose his words carefully. But his eyes lit up when he talked about current projects, for example, a new experiment on decision theory. Even many years after his retirement, he devoted himself every day for two to three hours of research. Therefore he remained scientific coordinator and founder of the Laboratory of Experimental Economics at the University of Bonn.
" Finally ... he came to economic laboratory experiments. "I was familiar through my psychology studies with experiments that approach made sense to me." His credo: "Who wants to know what is in the real world going on, must make empirical and experimental work, the reality can be devised at the desk no."
"Not for nothing, the economist is therefore regarded as a pioneer of experimental economics. After receiving his doctorate in Frankfurt and lectureships in Berlin and Bielefeld was rare in 1984 to Bonn, where he founded the first European laboratory for economic experiments."

And, in the NY Times:
Reinhard Selten, Whose Strides in Game Theory Led to a Nobel, Dies at 85
By Sam Roberts

"Alvin E. Roth, another Nobel laureate in economics who teaches at Stanford University, wrote in 1999 that game theory and experimental economics were two of the most important developments in the field in the second half of the 20th century.
“Reinhard Selten is one of the pioneers in both of these endeavors, and he has been a leader in each of them throughout his career,” Professor Roth wrote. “This makes him unique: No one else in the world has made such important or such sustained contributions to both fields.”

More recently, from Andreas Ortmann in Australia:
In Memoriam Reinhard Selten (1930 – 2016) by 

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