Amartya Sen

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Amartya Sen, CH (Bengali: অমর্ত্য সেন, Ômorto Shen; born 3 November 1933) is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society’s poorest members.[1] Sen was best known for his work on the causes of famine, which led to the development of practical solutions for preventing or limiting the effects of real or perceived shortages of food. He is currently the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. He is also a senior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he previously served as Master from the years 1998 to 2004.[2][3] He is the first Asian and the first Indian academic to head an Oxbridge college.

Amartya Sen's books have been translated into more than thirty languages. He is a trustee of Economists for Peace and Security. In 2006, Time magazine listed him under "60 years of Asian Heroes"[4] and in 2010 included him in their "100 most influential persons in the world"[5].


Early life and education

Sen was born to a Bengali Hindu family in Santiniketan, West Bengal , the university town established by the poet Rabindranath Tagore, another Indian Nobel Prize winner. His ancestral home was in Wari, Dhaka in modern-day Bangladesh. Rabindranath Tagore is said to have given Amartya Sen his name ("Amartya" meaning "immortal"). Sen hails from a distinguished family: his maternal grandfather Kshitimohan Sen, a close associate of Rabindranath Tagore, was a renowned scholar of medieval Indian literature, an authority on the philosophy of Hinduism, and also the second Vice Chancellor of Visva-Bharati University. His maternal grandfather was an uncle of the first Chief Election Commissioner of India, Sukumar Sen and his brother, Ashoke Kumar Sen, a former Law Minister of India. Sen's father Ashutosh Sen and mother Amita Sen were born at Manikganj, Dhaka. His father was a Professor of Chemistry at Dhaka University and became Chairman of the West Bengal Public Services Commission.

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