March 30, 2006
Vol. 25 No. 13

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    Hansen to receive Nemmers Prize

    By William Harms
    News Office

    Lars Hansen

    Lars Peter Hansen, the Homer J. Livingston Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, 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 achievement in those two disciplines—with each prize carrying a $150,000 stipend—the Nemmers Prizes are given to scholars who have made major contributions to new knowledge or the development of significant new modes of analysis.

    Hansen was awarded the Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics, for which the selection committee gives recognition “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 presents the awards.

    In connection with the 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 Dumas. “Since the prizes were first awarded in 1994, they have become recognized as 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.” Although, by the terms of the gift that created the prizes, Nobel laureates are ineligible to receive Nemmers Prizes.

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

    “His studies of macroeconomic and asset market behavior are notable for their methodological innovations, combining economic theory and frontier econometric methods,” said Robert Porter, professor and chair of economics at Northwestern.

    In essence, Hansen has studied dynamic properties of financial markets and how they reflect the uncertainties of the macroeconomic environment by developing and applying rigorous statistical methods.

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

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

    The Nemmers Prizes are made possible through bequests from the late Erwin Nemmers, a former member of the Northwestern University faculty, and his brother the late Frederic Nemmers, both of Milwaukee. The prizes are awarded every other year.

    Erwin 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, he was a principal in a Milwaukee-based, family-owned, church music-publishing house.

    In addition to designating their $14 million gift for the Nemmers Prizes, the two brothers’ contribution also helped establish four endowed professorships in the Kellogg School of Management.

    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.