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Thomas Schelling (1921 – 2016)

by Kirk Fox

The Nobel Prize-winning economist was known for his study of game theory.

Thomas Schelling, a Nobel Prize-winning economist known for his study of game theory, died Monday, Dec. 13, 2016, according to multiple news sources. He was 95.

Schelling won the Nobel Prize in economic sciences in 2005 for his study of game theory, which examines mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between rational people.


Schelling was a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and Department of Economics since 1990.

Robert C. Orr, the dean of the School of Public Policy, wrote a note to students regarding Schelling’s death.

“While Tom was best known for receiving the Nobel Prize, to us he was a teacher, leader, and a truly beloved member of our community. His presence, ideas, and collaborations were valued by his colleagues, and the grand connections he forged far and wide were humbled by his personal ties with his appreciative students. In fact, at one Maryland Day, students celebrated his success by noshing on Tom’s favorite sandwich — peanut butter and jelly on raisin bread.”

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Orr went on to say that Schelling was “an extraordinary human being who leaves a legacy in the school and on campus that is unique.”

Schelling went to college at the University of California, Berkeley, and received his doctorate in economics from Harvard University in 1951.

Schelling wrote the book “The Strategy of Conflict,” which was published in 1960. The influential book pioneered the study of bargaining and strategic behavior in what Schelling refers to as “conflict behavior.”

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