The youngest winner of a Nobel prize for economics, Kenneth J. Arrow, passed away. He was 95, died on Tuesday at his home in Palo Alto, San Francisco. His theories on risk, innovation and the basic mathematics of markets have influenced thinking on everything from voting to health insurance to high finance. His most significant works are his contributions to social choice theory, notably “Arrow’s impossibility theorem”, and his work on general equilibrium analysis.
“He was a very loving, caring father and a very, very humble man. He’d do the dishes every night and cared about people very much,”
“I think in his academic career when people talk about it, it often sounds like numbers and probabilities. But a large focus of his work was how people matter,” said David Arrow.
“The fact that people often don’t behave rationally … that was one aspect that he often looked at, how it affected the lives of the people,” he added.
Arrow, a professor at Harvard University has spent most of his time at the Stanford University. Not only was he an acclaimed scientist but also an incredible mentor; which proves why five of his former students went on to become Nobel winners. Arrow was in the limelight after he published his book ‘Social Choice and Individual Values’ in 1951. This book was used mathematical logic to discuss collective decision-making.
He formulated a theorem that it was impossible for a majority-rule voting system with three candidates to be free of certain flaws.
“You can say, ‘There’s no really good way to run an election’, but it is something else to prove it. It’s like proving a bicycle cannot be stable, a fellow economics laureate, Robert Aumann, told the Washington Post.
Arrow’s impossibility theorem “fundamentally altered economic and political theory and practice,” Aumann said.
Despite being a genius at his subject, he has been curious about other subjects as well. His broad pool of knowledge incorporates a diverse taste in music, Chinese art and even whales.
“He was interested in everything,” his son said.