Simon Wins Nobel Prize for Economics

Prof. Herbert A. Simon of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, whose forebears, including a Civil War soldier, were Jewish, won the 1978 Nobel Prize for economics today. Simon, 62, was cited by the Swedish Academy of Sciences “for his pioneering research into the decision making process within economic organizations.” He is the seventh American to win the economics prize. Several of them were Jewish.

While primarily an economist, Simon, who has been affiliated with Carnegie Mellon since 1949, has been prominently associated with science theory, applied mathematics, statistics and business administration.

Simon was not immediately available for a telephone interview, but Ms. Janet New, his secretary at the university, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Simon is “not a practicing Jew religiously” and that he “belongs to the Unitarian church.”

Reading from autobiographical material in his office, Ms. New said the professor’s father was Arthur Simon, who emigrated from Germany. His mother, Edno Merke, a native of Missouri, was a “third generation German ‘ of the 1848 German emigration wave, whose forebears came from Prague. The passage in the material on her descendant, Ms. New reported, was followed by the name Goldsmith and “Jewish” in parenthesis.

Her grandfather and the Nobel Prize winner’s great grandfather is identified in the autobiographical material as Alexander Goldsmith, “a Civil War veteran, “Ms. New said. Whether on the Union or Confederate side, she was unable to say. Prof. Simon’s wife is the former Dorothea Pie.

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