Tjalling Koopmans' Nobel Prize medal gifted to Cowles


The Cowles Foundation was gifted Tjalling Koopmans’ Nobel Prize medal by the Frankel family durning an intimate ceremony held at 28 Hillhouse Ave. on May 24.

During the ceremony, Ann Frankel (Tjalling’s daughter) spoke of her father, her father’s work, and the medal before handing it over to former Cowles Director, Al Klevorick, who accepted the medal on behalf of Larry Samuelson.

“In my view, Tjalling Koopmans embodied, in person and in his work, the Cowles Foundation,” said Klevorick.  “It is a great honor to us to have the medal and be able to display it.”

To mark the occasion, Yale Economics Professors and  Nobel laureates William Nordhaus and Robert Shiller were on hand to speak of Koopmans’ influence on their careers. 

Professor Robert Shiller spoke of Koopmans’ influence in the use theory in filed of economics, not just data.  Shiller went on to explain how the Cowles Foundation medal and its motto changed when the foundation moved to Yale. Not only was the motto influced by Koopmans, but also the Foundation’s move to Yale.  

“The motto is, ‘Theory and Measurement,’ which is exactly a transposition of [Koopmans’] 1947 paper,” said Shiller. “Tjalling was very import in forming the ethos and method that lives on today in the Cowles Foundation, and more broadly, the Yale community.”

Professor William Nordhaus, remembers when he was a junior faculty member meeting  Tjalling Koopmans for the first time

Ann Frankel was joined by her husband Joe Frankel, her son Martin Unsel-Frankel, and Martin’s wife, ???.

The donation is especially meaningful, as Tjalling Koopmans was instrumental in moving the Cowles Foundation (then the Cowles Commission) from the University of Chicago to Yale in 1954. He was a life-long staff member and served two terms as Director of Cowles in the 1960s. We are honored to house and display his Nobel medal.

Tjalling Koopmans (jointly with Leonid Kantorovich) was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1975 for his contributions to the field of resource allocation, specifically the theory of optimal use of resources.

 Shiller: “I think the spirit of [Koopmans’] research lives on at Cowles.” “I think the Chicago Cowles conflict is still alive and well.” 

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