September 01, 2009

By Paul Feinberg

Professor Rakesh Sarin ('75), who holds UCLA Anderson's Paine Chair in Management, was selected winner of the 2009 Decision Analysis Society's Frank P. Ramsey Medal. It is the highest honor bestowed by the Society. The Ramsey Medal honors the work of Frank Plumpton Ramsey, the Cambridge University mathematician who pioneered decision theory last century. Sarin is the first UCLA Anderson professor to receive the Ramsey Medal.

According to the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) website, "(Ramsey's) 1926 essay "Truth and Probability" (published posthumously in 1931) anticipated many of the developments in mathematical decision theory later made by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern, Leonard J. Savage, and others. The Ramsey Medalists are recognized for having made substantial further contributions to that theory and its application to important classes of real decision problems."

Sarin is sanguine about the medal, though quick to note that it is not a lifetime achievement award.

"I feel honored," he said. "But the work goes on."

Currently, the "work" is a book Sarin is researching and writing on happiness. "What we believe, is that happiness is not chance, each person has control of their own happiness. By understanding the laws of happiness, everyone has a chance to improve their own happiness."

He earned his PhD in Operations Management from UCLA in 1975 and returned permanently to the UCLA Anderson faculty in 1979. He was named to the Paine Chair in 1990. Sarin has held appointments on the faculties of the Indian Institute of Management, Purdue University, and Duke University.

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