Herbert Scarf, American mathematician, Died at 85

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Herbert Eli Scarf was born on July 25, 1930, and died on November 15, 2015.

He was an American economist and Sterling Professor (Emeritus as of 2010) of Economics at Yale University.

Herbert is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

He served as the president of the Econometric Society in 1983.

Herbert received both the Frederick Lanchester Award in 1973 and the John von Neumann Medal in 1983 from the Operations Research Society of America and was elected as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association in 1991.

Herbert Scarf was born on July 25, 1930, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to parents of Ukrainian Jewish origins.

His father, Louis Harris Scarf immigrated to the United States in 1905 from Ukraine at the age of 18 and his mother Lena Elkman also came to the US in the same year at the age of 5.

They married in 1929 and had two twin sons next year: Frederick Leonard Scarf and Herbert Eli Scarf.

Herbert and Frederick went to the same public primary and high schools in Philadelphia.

Herbert became very interested in mathematics in his early adolescence after reading the book: Men of Mathematics by E.T.Bell.

He began to read calculus, geometry, number theory and theoretical mechanics by himself in high school.

Herbert’s teachers at the South Philadelphia High School apparently did not know he had such avid mathematical interests, and were astonished when he was ranked first in the Pennsylvania Statewide Mathematical Tournament for high school students organized by Temple University in 1947.

Herbert passes away at age 85 in November 2015.