Leading demographer, served as head of population research office

Ansley Coale, who was one of this country's foremost demographers, died Nov. 5 in Bucks County, Pa., at age 85.

Coale, the William Church Osborne Professor of Public Affairs Emeritus and professor of economics emeritus, was a prolific author, publishing more than 125 books and articles on a wide variety of demographic topics. His "Age and Structure of Human Populations" (1972) is considered an essential textbook for those interested in formal demography. He also trained and served as a mentor to many students who became leaders in the field.

Coale was educated at Princeton (B.A., M.A. and Ph.D.) and joined the faculty in 1947. He spent his entire academic career at the University's Office of Population Research, serving as director from 1959 to 1975. He was president of the Population Association of America in 1967-68 and president of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population from 1977 to 1981.

Coale's first major influential work was "Population Growth and Economic Development in Low-Income Countries" (1958), co-written with Edgar Hoover. The results, which showed that slowing population growth could enhance economic development, had a major impact on public policy and set the research agenda in this field.

This study was followed by "Regional Model Life Tables and Stable Populations" (1966), co-written with Paul Demeny. These model life tables both established new empirical regularities and proved invaluable in the development of later techniques for estimating mortality and fertility in populations with inaccurate or incomplete data. Along with William Brass, Coale pioneered the development and use of these techniques, first explained in "Methods of Estimating Basic Demographic Measures From Incomplete Data" (1967, with Demeny) and in "The Demography of Tropical Africa" (1968, with other demographers).

Perhaps Coale's major scientific contribution was to the understanding of the demographic transition, according to James Trussell, director of the Office of Population Research. Coale was the intellectual architect of the European Fertility Project, which examined the remarkable decline in marital fertility in Europe. Initiated in 1963, the project eventually resulted in the publication of nine major books summarizing the change in childbearing over a century in the 700 provinces in Europe.

Toward the end of his career, Coale became interested in the population changes in China and understanding the fertility transition there as well as factors affecting the sex ratio at birth.

Coale was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and was a recipient of several honorary degrees from universities including Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Louvain and the University of Liege. He was also a corresponding fellow of the British Academy.

This past June, the Office of Population Research honored Coale by naming its demographic research library "The Ansley Coale Population Research Collection." Memorial contributions may be made to the endowment that supports this collection.

A memorial service at the University will be announced later. Surviv- ors include his wife, Sarah, and two sons.

25-year faculty member was expert in probability and decision theory

Richard Jeffrey, professor of philosophy emeritus, died Nov. 9. He was 76.

An expert in probability and decision theory, Jeffrey joined the faculty at Princeton in 1974 and was granted emeritus status in 1999. He also taught logic and the philosophy of science. In recent years, he spent part of his time in Princeton and part as a visiting distinguished professor of logic and philosophy of science at the University of California-Irvine.


Jeffrey earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton in 1957. A World War II Navy veteran, he received an M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1952. He was a research engineer, a Fulbright Scholar and an assistant professor of electrical engineering before starting his career teaching philosophy at Stanford University in 1959.

He served as a visiting faculty member at the Institute for Advanced Study and at Princeton in 1963-64, and taught at the City College of New York and at the University of Pennsylvania before returning to Princeton as a professor of philosophy.

The author of several books and numerous articles, Jeffrey presented a new theory of decision-making under uncertainty and of probable knowledge in "The Logic of Decision" (1965). He further developed these themes in "Probability and the Art of Judgment" (1992). His textbook, "Computability and Logic" (with George Boolos, 1974), bridged the gap between general books on logic and treatises written for mathematicians.

Jeffrey was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994, and he served as president of the Philosophy of Science Association from 1999 to 2000.


November 18, 2002
Vol. 92, No. 10
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Page one
Experiment yields good chemistry for teaching and learning
Psychologists and mathematicians put heads together on brain research

Early decision is back in the news
Initiatives implemented for post-enrolled graduate students

Five new full professors named to the faculty
People, briefs, spotlight

By the numbers
Nassau Notes
Calendar of events

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