Nobel Prize Winner in Economics to Speak at UT

KNOXVILLE — Dr. Reinhard Selten, a German scholar who shared the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics, will present a talk to the University of Tennessee community at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at the Tennessee Auditorium in the University Center.

The talk and a reception immediately afterwards are free and open to the public.

Selten, a professor at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat in Bonn, won the Nobel Prize for his vital work in a field known as “game theory.”

A pioneer in the use of games like chess and poker as the foundation for understanding complex economic issues, Selten helped extend game theory’s practical applications in the social sciences and in business.

Selten’s Nobel Prize was awarded 50 years after the publication of “The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior” by mathematicians John Von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern first linked game theory and economics.

The significance of Von Neumann and Morgenstern’s work was immediately recognized, but economists had little immediate success in applying it to the field.

Instead, game theory became closely associated to the 1950s Cold War problems, from airplane dogfights to doctrines of massive retaliation.

Today, thanks to the work of Selten and others, game theory is used to formulate mathematical models related to economic issues such as conflict and cooperation, potential price wars and illegal collusion.

Selten’s presentation will use simple examples to illustrate strategic economic interactions. He will explain models with applications to anthropology, the economics of education and animal behavior.

He also will speak about the practical application of game theory to auctions of radio frequencies to broadcasters.

For more information, contact UT’s Center for Business and Economic Research at (865) 974-5441.