Tjalling Koopmans was one of several Dutch Americans who was awarded the Nobel Prize. He won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1975 for his work in resource allocation, a mathematical modeling technique, that was widely adopted in operations and managerial decision making. He shared the Nobel Prize with the Russian Leonid Kantorovich, who had independently worked on the same type of mathematical models Koopmans had discovered and developed.
Koopmans was born and educated in the Netherlands before coming to the United States in 1940. He received his M. S. from the University of Utrecht in 1933, and his Ph. D. degree from the University of Leiden in 1936. Since mathematical economics was not a discipline during those years, his degrees were in mathematics. In other words his studies preceded his chosen discipline of mathematical economics, and as a result he can be viewed as one of the co-founders of the discipline of mathematical economics.
To reach his final choice of study, he explored a number of different areas. All along he had developed an interest in economics, and even dabbled in Marxist economics for a while early in his career as a student. But due to the influence of several mentors, including professors Hendrik Kramers, Jan Romein, Ragnar Frisch and Jan Tinbergen, Koopmans eventually chose his field of research in mathematical economics. He did his doctoral dissertation under the direction of professor Hendrik Kramers, with considerable input by professor Tinbergan. Although much of his doctoral research was done in Amsterdam and Oslo, Norway, his dissertation was completed at, and the doctorate was granted by, the University of Leiden, where his advisor, Hendrik Kramers, had a professorial appointment.
Koopmans was able to leave the Netherlands for the United States in May/June 1940, just as the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. He ended up working for the British Merchant Shipping Mission in Washington, D. C., until 1944. In 1944, Professor Jacob Marschak, invited him to join the Cowles Commission, affiliated with the University of Chicago, as a research associate. The appointment apparently was accompanied by a faculty appointment at the University of Chicago. Subsequently, Koopmans succeeded Professor Marschak as the research director of the Cowles Commission in 1948, and he served in that capacity for seven years, until 1955. In 1955, the Cowles Commission was moved to Yale University, and Koopmans moved with the Commission and was given a faculty appointment as full professor at Yale University, where he remained until 1981, when he retired. While at Yale University, in 1967, Koopmans became the first Alfred Cowles Professor of Economics. The chair was named after the same person for whom the Cowles Commission was named.
Koopmans work during his entire career was concentrated on the issue of the efficient allocation of resources to competing activities, also referred to as the optimal allocation of resources. One of the first practical mathematical algorithms developed was the Transportation Algorithm, which later was expanded to the more general mathematical allocation model denoted by the term, Linear Programming, and its several variations. During his professional and academic career Koopmans published and lectured widely.
Tjalling Koopmans was born in the village of ‘s-Graveland, the Netherlands on August 28, 1910. He was married to Truus Wanningen on October, 1936. The couple had three children, a son, Henry W. Koopmans, and two daughters, Anne K. Frankel and Helen K. Weinert. Koopmans passed away on February 26, 1985 at Yale-New Haven Hospital after a brief illness.
Tjalling Koopmans won a share of 1975 Nobel Prize in Economics, www.boston.com/globe/search/stories/nobel/1985/1985ao.html
Tjalling C.Koopmasn, Nobel Prize
Tjalling Koopmans, Wikipedia
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