TJALLING CHARLES KOOPMANS

August 28, 1910–February 26, 1985

BY HERBERT E. SCARF

TJALLING CHARLES KOOPMANS, one of the central figures in modern economic science, played seminal roles in the modern theory of the allocation of scarce resources and in the development of statistical methods for the analysis of economic data. In both of these areas Koopmans creatively mobilized and developed the methods of other quantitative disciplines for the purposes of economics: mathematical statistics became econometrics, and linear programming became the activity analysis model of production. Koopmans was also one of the major scholars concerned with the study of economic growth and the economic consequences of the depletion of nonrenewable resources. He was a remarkably inspired and inspiring leader of research who combined his considerable mathematical power with a deep concern for the ultimate practical applications of his work.

Koopmans was born in the village of ‘s Graveland, near the town of Hilversum, in the Netherlands, on August 28, 1910; he was the third son of Sjoerd Koopmans and Wijtske van der Zee. Both his mother and father were born in Frisia, a province in northeastern Holland. Sjoerd's father was the owner of a small shop in the rural area of Toppenhuizen; Wijtske's father was a painter of fancy carriages and also an



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement