This lecture honors Simon Newcomb, an autodidact and polymath, appointed Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University in 1884, and editor of the American Journal of Mathematics for many years. A Rear-Admiral in the United State Navy, he was was active in the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of which he was president in 1877. He wrote two books of economics, works that M. Friedman describes as “classics of economic science”, and J. M. Keynes as “one of those original works which a fresh scientific mind … is able to produce from time to time.” He was credited by Irving Fisher with the first-known enunciation of the quantity theory of money. Newcomb was an enthusiastic participant in academic politics at Johns Hopkins and may have contributed to the departures of Richard Ely and C. S. Peirce from the University.
The Newcomb Lecturers need not necessarily be members of an economics department, but should be working on economic questions with a non-trivial mathematical content.
Simon Newcomb Lectures
- 2011/12 – Steve Durlauf (Wisconsin University): “The Social Economy”
- 2010/11 – Paul Milgrom (Stanford University): “Assignment Exchanges”
- 2009/10 – Alexander Ioffe (Technion): “Variational analysis and mathematical economics”
- 2008/09 – Rohit Parikh (Graduate Center at CUNY): “Social Software and the Logic of Knowledge”