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March 16, 2006 Press Contact: William Harms
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Lars Hansen receives prestigious Nemmers Prize in Economics

lars hansen
Lars Hansen
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“Nemmers Awards in Economics and Mathematics Announced”
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Lars Peter Hansen, the Homer J. Livingston Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, is one of two scholars to receive the prestigious 2006 Nemmers Prizes in economics and mathematics, believed to be the largest monetary awards in the United States for outstanding achievements in those two disciplines.

Awarded to scholars who made major contributions to new knowledge or the development of significant new modes of analysis, each prize carries a $150,000 stipend.

Hansen was awarded the Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics, recognized by the selection committee “for rigorously relating economic theory to observed macroeconomic and asset market behavior and for innovations in modeling optimal policy under uncertainty,” according to an announcement from Northwestern University, which makes the awards.

In connection with their awards, Hansen is scheduled to deliver public lectures and participate in other scholarly activities at Northwestern during the fall of 2007.

Robert Langlands, the Hermann Weyl Professor of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J., was awarded the Frederic Esser Nemmers Prize in Mathematics for his “fundamental vision connecting representation theory, automorphic forms and number theory.”

“These scholars are widely respected among their peers, and we are proud once again to recognize such exceptional work with the Nemmers Prizes,” said Northwestern University Provost Lawrence B. Dumas. “Since the prizes were first awarded in 1994, they have become recognized as the leading awards in their fields. It is significant that three of the six scholars awarded the Nemmers Prizes in Economics went on to receive the Nobel Prize in that field.”

By terms of the gift which created the prizes, previous winners of Nobel awards are ineligible to receive a Nemmers Prize.

Hansen is widely recognized as one of the most important empirical economists of our day.

“Lars Hansen has made fundamental contributions to the study of asset prices and their relationships to economy-wide risks,” said Derek Neal, Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago.

“He has made important methodological and empirical contributions documenting the basic properties of risky securities and their implications. He devised diagnostic tests that allow researchers to evaluate a variety of asset pricing models and to think clearly about how to modify and enrich them to offer explanations for some of the puzzling aspects of the data,” he added.

Neal explained that Hansen has also developed and applied novel models of investors’ attitudes toward risk based on distinctions between risk and uncertainty. Most recently, he has been exploring the implications of long-term risks for the understanding of the pricing of risky securities.

Among Hansen’s honors, he is the recipient of the Frisch Prize, awarded every other year for the best empirical paper in the journal “Econometrica.” He holds fellowships at the Econometric Society, American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, and he was a fellow at the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Hansen also is a former co-editor of “Econometrica” and of the “Journal of Political Economy.” He is the author or co-author of numerous articles and books including “Robust Control and Economic Model Uncertainty” with Thomas J. Sargent, which is in press.

The Nemmers Prizes are made possible through bequests from the late Erwin E. Nemmers, a former member of the Northwestern University faculty, and his brother the late Frederic E. Nemmers, both of Milwaukee. The prizes are awarded every other year. Previous recipients have been Peter A. Diamond (1994), Thomas J. Sargent (1996), Robert J. Aumann (1998), Daniel L. McFadden (2000), Edward C. Prescott (2002), and Ariel Rubinstein (2004) in economics and Yuri I. Manin (1994), Joseph B. Keller (1996), John H. Conway (1998), Edward Witten (2000), Yakov G. Sinai (2002), and Mikhael Gromov (2004) in mathematics.

Erwin Esser Nemmers, who persuaded his brother to join him in making a substantial contribution to Northwestern, served as a member of the faculty of the Kellogg School of Management from 1957 until his retirement in 1986. Along with his brother, Frederic E. Nemmers, he was a principal in a Milwaukee-based, family-owned church music publishing house.

Their gifts, totaling $14 million, were designated by Erwin and Frederic Nemmers for two purposes: the establishment of four endowed professorships in the Kellogg School of Management and the establishment of the Nemmers Prizes.

Consistent with the terms of the Nemmers bequests, the Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics (named in honor of the Nemmers’ father) and the Frederic Esser Nemmers Prize in Mathematics (named by Erwin in honor of his brother) are designed to recognize “work of lasting significance” in the respective disciplines.
Last modified at 01:44 PM CST on Monday, February 12, 2007.

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