University of Rochester alumni and faculty have received a total of nine Nobel Prizes, across a range of categories that includes physics, medicine or physiology, and economics.
Economist Richard Thaler, a professor at the University of Chicago, became the most recent laureate in October, when he was awarded the prize in economic sciences for his work in behavioral economics. Thaler, who earned his graduate degrees at UR, has received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for his contributions to behavioral economics.”
A leading scholar on the intersection between human behavior and economic decision making, Thaler has been instrumental in arguing that traditional economic models don’t adequately account for how people approach economic decisions, University of Rochester said. Over the course of his career, he has been highly regarded for work that explores how ideas in psychology influence decision making in economics and other areas. According to Thaler, people are prone to a variety of influences, ranging from altruism to laziness, that affect how they behave and those influences should be considered by economic and other policy makers.
He’s the sixth UR alumnus to be recognized and the second member of the university community to be awarded the prize in economics. Here is a look at others who have won in years past:
- 1934 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
George Whipple, founding dean of School of Medicine and Dentistry for his work to develop a therapy for anemia.
- 1943 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Biochemist Henrick Dam, a member of the medical school faculty in the 1940s, for his discovery of vitamin K.
- 1955 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Vincent du Vigneaud, a biochemist, for research on sulfur-containing compounds
- 1959 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Arthur Kornberg, who first discovered a way to synthesize DNA.
- 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Carleton Gajdusek, is credited with discovering the infectious disease mechanism of prions.
- 1993 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences
Robert Fogel, a economic historian who was a member of the economics faculty in the 1960s and 1970s. Fogel won for his controversial theory that slavery was beneficial to the U.S. economy of the 19th century.
- 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics
Physicist Steven Chu, former Secretary of Energy who developed methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.
- 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics
Masatoshi Koshiba, a physicist credited with foundational work to detect the subatomic particles known as neutrinos.