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University Professor to Leave Harvard

By Suzanne F. Gauron

The Prime Minister of Great Britain recently appointed Amartya K. Sen, Lamont university professor and professor of economics and of philosophy, to the position of Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge.

The first Indian scholar to be named as head of a Cambridge college, Sen will succeed mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah in January, at which point Sen will abdicate his University professorship.

"Sen is one of the great economists in the history of Harvard University," said Abbe Professor of Economics and Chair of the Economics Department Dale W. Jorgenson.

An October 1996 Wall Street Journal article placed Sen on a short list of outstanding academics who were likely to soon receive the Nobel Prize, a prediction with which many at Harvard said they agree.

Sen has written numerous books and articles on a wide range of economic and philosophical subjects and according to Jorgenson "has achieved pre-eminence in every field he has worked in."

Sen's accomplishments have not gone unnoticed by colleagues.

"[Sen] remains a Renaissance intellectual. He is the ideal example of a University professor," said Ashutosh Varshney, associate professor of government.

"In an age when most academics are becoming more technical and narrow in scope, Sen demonstrates that technical intellect and encyclopedic knowledge can go together," he said. "He is not only highly respected in economics and philosophy, but has also influenced ideas of nationality, famine and economic development."

According to Varshney, the importance of Sen's scholarship lies with its originality. "[Sen] nearly single handedly broadened economic development to include social considerations," he said.

President Neil L. Rudenstine said he considers Sen's scholarship influential. "Sen is a major figure internationally for his wide-ranging intellect. He is a teacher at all levels, among colleagues as well as students," Rudenstine said.

Sen has taught courses at all levels at Harvard, from an offering in the Core to highly specialized graduate courses. Last year he taught Economics 2057: "Rational Choice" and Economics 1395: "Development and Living Standards."

"He is so accomplished and so kind; a model for young students," said Andrew P. Metrick, assistant professor of economics.

Students said they have benefited from Sen's knowledge and teaching ability.

"It is a privilege to have any of his time and you always feel listened to with him," said Sanjay G. Reddy '91, a fourth-year graduate student in economics. "He is enormously gracious and charming with everyone, student and World Bank official alike."

A prolific author, Sen's most influential books include Collective Choice and Social Welfare, Hunger and Public Action, On Economic Inequality and Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation.

Sen often spoke at U.N. meetings relating to economic development and famine and was the keynote speaker at the 1995 U.N. Conference on Population in Cairo, Jorgenson said.

Born in India, Sen was educated at the University of Calcutta and at Trinity where he received a master's degree and a PhD.

After teaching economics at the University of Calcutta, he became a fellow at Trinity. Before coming to Harvard in 1987, Sen held professorships at Delhi University, the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford. He was named Lamont University Professor in Winter 1988.

Sen has also held the office of president with the International Economic Association, the Indian Economic Association, the American Economic Association, the Econometric Society and was awarded an honorary vice presidency by the Royal Economic Society.

Emma Rothschild, Sen's wife, teaches economics at King's College of Cambridge.

Sen said he plans to teach at Harvard for the fall semester of the coming academic year. He will return to the University for about six weeks in the spring to give a series of lectures. He intends to keep his Cambridge, Mass. house and spend three or four months here each year.

In his new position, Sen will serve as chair of Trinity's College Council, performing administrative functions. He said his new position will allow him more time to research and complete four worksin-progress.

The Master of Trinity is the only head of the Oxbridge Colleges appointed by the Queen. The appointment process is based on the long-standing tradition of British royalty attending Trinity

"He is so accomplished and so kind; a model for young students," said Andrew P. Metrick, assistant professor of economics.

Students said they have benefited from Sen's knowledge and teaching ability.

"It is a privilege to have any of his time and you always feel listened to with him," said Sanjay G. Reddy '91, a fourth-year graduate student in economics. "He is enormously gracious and charming with everyone, student and World Bank official alike."

A prolific author, Sen's most influential books include Collective Choice and Social Welfare, Hunger and Public Action, On Economic Inequality and Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation.

Sen often spoke at U.N. meetings relating to economic development and famine and was the keynote speaker at the 1995 U.N. Conference on Population in Cairo, Jorgenson said.

Born in India, Sen was educated at the University of Calcutta and at Trinity where he received a master's degree and a PhD.

After teaching economics at the University of Calcutta, he became a fellow at Trinity. Before coming to Harvard in 1987, Sen held professorships at Delhi University, the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford. He was named Lamont University Professor in Winter 1988.

Sen has also held the office of president with the International Economic Association, the Indian Economic Association, the American Economic Association, the Econometric Society and was awarded an honorary vice presidency by the Royal Economic Society.

Emma Rothschild, Sen's wife, teaches economics at King's College of Cambridge.

Sen said he plans to teach at Harvard for the fall semester of the coming academic year. He will return to the University for about six weeks in the spring to give a series of lectures. He intends to keep his Cambridge, Mass. house and spend three or four months here each year.

In his new position, Sen will serve as chair of Trinity's College Council, performing administrative functions. He said his new position will allow him more time to research and complete four worksin-progress.

The Master of Trinity is the only head of the Oxbridge Colleges appointed by the Queen. The appointment process is based on the long-standing tradition of British royalty attending Trinity

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