Reinhard Selten
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Reinhard Selten Childhood & Facts, Intellectuals & Academics - 𝐑𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐒𝐞𝐥𝐭𝐞𝐧 Biography
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Elisabeth Langreiner
Reinhard Justus Reginald Selten
Wrocław, Poland
Male
Libra
Wrocław, Poland
85
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Who is Reinhard Selten?

undefined - Reinhard SeltenReinhard Selten

Reinhard Selten is a German economist who won a share of the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Known for his work in bounded rationality, he played a major role in the development of game theory. He also built the Laboratory for Experimental Economics (BonnEconLab) at the University of Bonn and is often referred to as one of the founding fathers of experimental economics. Born in Breslau (Wrocław) in Germany (now in Poland) in 1930, he grew up during a highly tumultuous period in European history. Partly of Jewish origin, he endured a tough childhood and teenage, living under the Hitler regime. However, unlike many of his relatives who perished in the holocaust, he was able to survive the World War II and proceeded to rebuild his life. He studied mathematics at the University of Frankfurt and worked as scientific assistant to Heinz Sauermann for a few years. Having a deep interest in game theory, he refined the important economic concept of the Nash equilibrium, which had been proposed by the prominent mathematician John Nash. Working on the concept, Selten developed the “subgame perfect equilibrium” and discussed his theory with economist John Harsanyi. The collective works of Nash, Selten, and Harsanyi won the trio the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

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Reinhard Selten Childhood & Early Life

Reinhard Justus Reginald Selten was born on October 5, 1930, in Breslau (Wrocław), then in Germany (now in Poland), to Adolf Selten, and Käthe Luther. His father was of Jewish origin though he personally did not belong to any religious community and his mother was a protestant. The boy was christened as a protestant due to the prevailing political circumstances in Europe which was increasingly becoming anti-Semitic.

He grew up in a politically tense environment with the World War II looming large on the horizon. Once the war started, he witnessed the destruction of the town he grew up in and the deaths of many of his relatives. To add to the family’s woes, his father became seriously ill and died in 1942.

Being a half-Jewish boy under the Hitler regime was a very difficult experience for the young teen. He was forced to leave high school when he was 14 and the chance to learn a trade was denied to him. Fortunately, he was able to leave Breslau with his mother and siblings as refugees, first going to Saxonia, then to Austria and finally to Hessia.

The family moved to Melsungen, a small town, in 1947 where he attended high school until 1951. During these years he developed a strong interest in mathematics. By this time he had also become interested in political matters.

He studied mathematics at the University of Frankfurt from 1951 to 1957 and obtained his master's degree.

Reinhard Selten Career

Reinhard Selten was appointed by Professor Heinz Sauermann, a professor at the University of Frankfurt, as a scientific assistant to him in 1957. Under Sauermann he performed research funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the German counterpart of the National Science Foundation.

Initially he was supposed to apply decision theory to the theory of the firm but found himself becoming increasingly involved with economic laboratory experimentation instead. At that time experimental economics as a field didn’t yet exist and thus Selten became one of the founding fathers of experimental economics.

In 1959, he published a journal article in collaboration with Sauermann with the title ‘Ein Oligopolexperiment’ (an oligopoly experiment). He received his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1961 with a thesis on the evaluation of n-person games.

In the early 1960s he conducted a series of experiments on an oligopoly game with demand inertia. Over the course of his experiments he defined subgame perfectness and published a paper ‘Ein Oligopolmodell mit Nachfrageträgheit’ (An Oligopoly Model with Demand Inertia) in 1965.

In 1968, he completed his postdoctoral degree (Habilitation) in economics. From 1969 to 1972, he taught at the Free University of Berlin as a full professor of economics before moving to the University of Bielefeld in 1972.

The years at Bielefeld were highly productive for him. Taking forward his work in game theory, he defined a refined notion of perfectness—now often referred to as trembling hand perfectness—in a paper published in 1975.

In 1984, he moved to the University of Bonn, as a professor of economics and built the BonnEconLab, a laboratory for experimental economic research. He became professor emeritus and scientific coordinator in 1996. He is also a member and co-founder of the International Academy of Sciences San Marino.

Reinhard Selten Major Works

Reinhard Selten is an expert in the field of game theory and is credited to have introduced his solution concept of subgame perfect equilibrium, which further refined the Nash equilibrium. He also gave the trembling hand perfect equilibrium, which is also a refinement of Nash equilibrium.

He is one of the central figures in the foundation of experimental economics, which is the application of experimental methods to study economic questions. This field of study uses experiments to help understand how and why markets and other exchange systems function as they do. It also includes understanding institutions and the law (experimental law and economics).

Reinhard Selten Awards & Achievements

Reinhard Selten, John C. Harsanyi, and John F. Nash Jr. were jointly awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 1994 "for their pioneering analysis of equilibria in the theory of non-cooperative games."

Reinhard Selten Personal Life & Legacy

He married Elisabeth Langreiner in 1959. They do not have any children.

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Reinhard Selten awards

  • Other

    • Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
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Reinhard Selten biography timelines

  • Reinhard Justus Reginald Selten was born on October 5, 1930, in Breslau (Wrocław), then in Germany (now in Poland), to Adolf Selten, and Käthe Luther. His father was of Jewish origin though he personally did not belong to any religious community and his mother was a protestant. The boy was christened as a protestant due to the prevailing political circumstances in Europe which was increasingly becoming anti-Semitic.
    5th Oct 1930
  • He grew up in a politically tense environment with the World War II looming large on the horizon. Once the war started, he witnessed the destruction of the town he grew up in and the deaths of many of his relatives. To add to the family’s woes, his father became seriously ill and died in 1942.
    1942
  • The family moved to Melsungen, a small town, in 1947 where he attended high school until 1951. During these years he developed a strong interest in mathematics. By this time he had also become interested in political matters.
    1947 To 1951
  • He studied mathematics at the University of Frankfurt from 1951 to 1957 and obtained his master's degree.
    1951 To 1957
  • Reinhard Selten was appointed by Professor Heinz Sauermann, a professor at the University of Frankfurt, as a scientific assistant to him in 1957. Under Sauermann he performed research funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the German counterpart of the National Science Foundation.
    1957
  • In 1959, he published a journal article in collaboration with Sauermann with the title ‘Ein Oligopolexperiment’ (an oligopoly experiment). He received his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1961 with a thesis on the evaluation of n-person games.
    1959 To 1961
  • He married Elisabeth Langreiner in 1959. They do not have any children.
    1959
  • In the early 1960s he conducted a series of experiments on an oligopoly game with demand inertia. Over the course of his experiments he defined subgame perfectness and published a paper ‘Ein Oligopolmodell mit Nachfrageträgheit’ (An Oligopoly Model with Demand Inertia) in 1965.
    1965
  • The years at Bielefeld were highly productive for him. Taking forward his work in game theory, he defined a refined notion of perfectness—now often referred to as trembling hand perfectness—in a paper published in 1975.
    1975
  • In 1984, he moved to the University of Bonn, as a professor of economics and built the BonnEconLab, a laboratory for experimental economic research. He became professor emeritus and scientific coordinator in 1996. He is also a member and co-founder of the International Academy of Sciences San Marino.
    1984 To 1996
  • Reinhard Selten, John C. Harsanyi, and John F. Nash Jr. were jointly awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 1994 "for their pioneering analysis of equilibria in the theory of non-cooperative games."
    1994
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Frequently asked questions about Reinhard Selten

  • What is Reinhard Selten birthday?

    Reinhard Selten was born at October 5, 1930

  • Where is Reinhard Selten's birth place?

    Reinhard Selten was born in Wrocław, Poland

  • What is Reinhard Selten nationalities?

    Reinhard Selten's nationalities is Polish

  • Who is Reinhard Selten spouses?

    Reinhard Selten's spouses is Elisabeth Langreiner

  • What is Reinhard Selten's sun sign?

    Reinhard Selten is Libra

  • When was Reinhard Selten died?

    Reinhard Selten was died at August 23, 2016

  • Which age was Reinhard Selten died?

    Reinhard Selten was died at age 85