Lloyd S. Shapley, 92, Nobel Laureate and a Father of Game Theory, Is Dead

Lloyd S. Shapley

Lloyd S. Shapley, left, receiving a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science in 2012 from Carl XVI Gustaf, the king of Sweden.

Lloyd S. Shapley, who shared the 2012 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for work on game theory that has been used to study subjects as diverse as matching couples and allocating costs, died in Tucson. He was 92.

  • Dr. Shapley, a mathematician and emeritus professor at U.C.L.A., was considered one of the fathers of game theory, which tries to explain the choices that competitors make in situations that require strategic thinking.
  • The “Shapley value,” named for him, is a concept through which the benefits of cooperation can be proportionally divided among participants based on their relative contribution.
  • He was a close friend and mentor to John Forbes Nash Jr., a mathematician and Nobel laureate who had schizophrenia.
  • Sylvia Nasar, a former reporter for The New York Times, devoted a chapter in her 1998 biography of Mr. Nash, “A Beautiful Mind,” to the men’s friendship. (The book was adapted for a 2001 film.)
  • Born in Cambridge on June 2, 1923, Lloyd Stowell Shapley was one of five children of Martha and Harlow Shapley, a noted astronomer at Harvard University. He was studying mathematics at Harvard when World War II started, and left to join the Army Air Corps. He was assigned to a weather station at a secret air base in western China that also intercepted broadcasts. There he earned a Bronze Star for deciphering a Soviet weather code. After the war, he earned degrees from Harvard and Princeton University.
  • He worked at the RAND Corporation before joining the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1981.
  • Dr. Shapley and Alvin E. Roth, a Harvard professor, received the Nobel Prize in 2012 in recognition of their work on market design and matching theory.

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