© The Nobel Foundation
Daniel Kahneman

American Jewish Recipients of the Nobel Prize

Daniel Kahneman: Nobel Prize
in Economics Recipient-2002

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Daniel Kahneman is an American Jewish recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics, 2002, which he shared with Vernon L. Smith for having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science, especially concerning human judgement and decision-making under uncertainty.

He was born on March 5, 1934, in Tel Aviv, Israel. His parents were Lithuanian Jews who had immigrated to France in the 1920s. His father was the chief of research in a chemical factory. When Hitler’s armies swept into France, Jews were required to wear the Star of David on their outer clothing and there was a 6pm curfew.

His father was interned for six weeks by the Nazis. His firm was instrumental in having him released. They escaped Vichy France and lived on the Riviera until the Nazis overran them. They moved to the center of France. His father died six weeks before D-day. When World War II was over, his mother, sister and he immigrated to Palestine.

He went to Hebrew University and earned a B.A. degree, in 1954, with a major in psychology and a minor in Math. In 1958, he went to the University of California, Berkeley, for his Ph.D., which he earned in 1961.

After earning his degree from Hebrew University, he was inducted into the Israeli Army as a second lieutenant. One his many responsibilities was to evaluate officers for training and to prepare and develop tests to help them with their assessment.

Kahneman began his academic career as a lecturer at Hebrew University in 1961. He was a visiting scientist at the University of Michigan, 1965-1966. He was a fellow at the Center for Cognitive Studies and a lecturer in psychology at Harvard University, 1966-1967.

In addition to the Nobel Prize, Doctor Daniel Kahneman was presented with the American Psychological Association’s Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology, in 2007.

Dr. Kahneman is a senior scholar and faculty member emeritus at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. He is also a fellow at Hebrew University.

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