Nobel Laureate Robert E. Lucas, Jr., Professor of Economics, to be awarded the Division's prestigious Phoenix Prize

Announcement Type: 

In recognition of his outstanding and loyal service to the University of Chicago and the enormous influence his work has had on the field of Economics, Robert E. Lucas, Jr., will be presented the Phoenix Prize from the Division of the Social Sciences. 


According to David Nirenberg, Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences, Professor Lucas has

"...cultivated an understanding of the traditions of Chicago Economics as deep as it is broad, an understanding that has resulted in thoughtful and critical, but always respectful, evaluations of the technical strengths and weaknesses of those traditions."  He has, "...not only built upon those traditions, but have also transformed them to create a modern dynamic economics-one that unites macroeconomics, microeconomics, and econometrics in ways that have allowed for more precise quantitative studies of alternative economic policies." 


As a college and graduate alumnus, and a faculty member here since 1973, his loyalty to the University of Chicago and service to the Division of the Social Sciences has been truly exceptional. The Dean's letter to Professor Lucas continued to praise his contribution to the field and to the University, saying,


"Your research and your teaching have refocused the way we think about the world and has enlightened generations of economists. You have been applauded throughout the world for the creativity with which you have constructed theoretical models of the economy and have put mathematics at the service of practical economics. Now, in the year of your retirement, we would like to applaud you here, at the University and the Division you have done so much for." 


The Phoenix Award was established in 1994 by former Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences, Colin Lucas, to constitute the highest faculty recognition the Division could bestow. It is to be awarded only periodically to those who, through the course of their careers, have changed the trajectory of research in the social sciences and have thus contributed to the cycle of intellectual renewal across the disciplines. It is this sense of renewal that is encapsulated in the prize's name, drawn from the symbol of our University. The prize has not been awarded in over a decade, most recently bestowed (in 2001) upon fellow Nobel Laureate and University Professor of Economics and of Sociology, Gary Becker, AM'53, PhD'55, (1930-2014). Other esteemed recipients were James Coleman, University Professor in Sociology (1926-1995), in 1994, and Marshall Sahlins, Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and of Social Sciences, in 1998. 


A conference is being planned in honor of Robert Lucas' work and will include a dinner during which the Phoenix Prize will be conferred. These events will take place October 7-8, 2016. More details will be posted as they become available.