Mediatheque

He obtains a bachelor’s degree at the City College of New York in 1950, majoring in mathematics. He is especially drawn to pure mathematics, but studies a wide range of other topics. He drops his first course in economics after a few weeks. He especially remembers a geology course, consisting almost exclusively of field trips.

Robert John Aumann is born on June 8, 1930, in an orthodox Jewish family. With the Nazis coming to power, his parents emigrated to New York in 1938.

He attends a Jewish parochial school in New York. In high school he has an extraordinary teacher of mathematics, who teaches him to love the subject. Aumann is most attracted to the axioms, theorems, proofs, and constructions of Euclid 's geometry.

Robert Aumann shares the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics with Thomas Schelling for “having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis”. Game theory , which examines rivalries among competitors, was developed by the 1994 laureate John Nash. But why do some groups succeed in promoting cooperation while others are caught up by conflict? This was the focus of Aumann’s and Schelling’s work, who advanced Nash’s theories in the 1950s.

His PhD, completed in 1955, is about knot theory: a branch of algebraic topology that deals with the properties of rope knots. Fifty years later, he finds unexpected use for this work, helping his grandson study cancer caused by “knotted” DNA.

He marries Esther Schlesinger in 1955. The couple has five children (the eldest was killed in action in 1982) and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Aumann enters M.I.T. for graduate studies. There he becomes interested in the more modern branches of mathematics, like algebraic topology. He obtains his MSc in 1952.

After the death of his first wife in 1998, Aumann marries her widowed sister, Batya Cohn, in 2005.

Aumann joins the Analytical Research Group in Princeton, where he works on the theoretical problem of defending a city from aerial attack. He had met John Nash at M.I.T., who had developed game theory, and decides that this theory was the best tool for that problem. Studying game theory more closely, he becomes fascinated.

He becomes instructor of mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has worked there ever since. He becomes best known for his work on repeated games, published in 1959, as well as his later Folk Theorem. To the public, he is better known for using game theory to analyze dilemmas in the Talmud, but has been criticized for his support of Torah codes research. Aumann is a proponent of a strong Israel, quoting game theory in his arguments against the 2005 Jewish withdrawal from Gaza.

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