Princeton alumnus Shapley wins Nobel Prize

Lloyd Shapley, a 1953 Princeton graduate alumnus and professor emeritus at the University of California-Los Angeles, is one of the 2012 recipients of the Nobel Prize in economic sciences "for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design." Shapley shared the award with Alvin Roth of Harvard University.

Shapley works in the field of game theory. In the work that was recognized by the Nobel Committee, he developed the Gale-Shapley algorithm and other methods that dealt with the issue of matching, ensuring that two items or individuals would be matched as well as possible. In a paper with collaborator David Gale, for instance, he tackled how to create a stable match between men and women in marriage.

Roth built on Shapley's work, conducting empirical studies demonstrating that stability was the key to understanding the success of some market institutions such as hospitals.

Shapley received his Ph.D. in mathematics at Princeton, alongside fellow graduate student — and now fellow Nobel Prize recipientJohn Nash, senior research mathematician at Princeton. Shapley's dissertation, on "Additive and Nonadditive Set Functions," was advised by Albert Tucker, a pioneer in game theory.

Shapley was an instructor at Princeton from 1952 to 1954, and then became a research mathematician at the Rand Corporation from 1954 to 1981. He joined the faculty at UCLA in 1981.