Press Release

Transportation expert Ernest Koenigsberg passes away

| 30 April 2009

Ernest Koenigsberg, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business and an expert in operations research and management science, with a focus on transportation, died on April 20 of heart failure at his home in San Francisco. He was 86.

Koenigsberg, born on April 15, 1923, in Brooklyn, New York, earned an undergraduate degree in physics at New York University in 1948 and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics at Iowa State in 1953. He went on to work at the Midwest Research Institute in Kansas, Mo., where he changed his field to operations research. He worked with many different industries, including plywood production, shipping and warehousing, before he started teaching at the Haas School.

Koenigsberg joined the Haas School as a lecturer in 1963 and was promoted to senior lecturer in 1975. He was appointed professor in 1982 and served on two of the Haas School's faculty groups: Economic Analysis & Policy and Operations Research & Information Technology. He retired in 1991.

"He embodied everything we wanted in the classroom," said former Haas School dean and faculty colleague Raymond Miles. "He was an excellent teacher who could bring real-world experience into his classes."

Koenigsberg was part of an early group of Haas School faculty that took interest in management science, a discipline that blossomed after World War II when its application to military production issues started spilling over into industrial uses. Management science applies analytical processes and quantitative techniques to production, inventory, distribution, scheduling and control problems.

Koenigsberg's work focused primarily on transportation issues such as fleet operations, transoceanic tug barge systems and ship allocation. He served as a long-time consultant to Matson, the ocean transportation company. He also served on a panel on future U.S. port requirements with the Maritime Transportation Research Board of the National Research Council.

Koenigsberg was a founding and active member of the Operations Research Society of America. He also served as a member of the Institute of Management Sciences and the Econometric Society, as an associate editor of the Operations Research Society in the United Kingdom and of the Canadian Operations Research Society and as a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society in Great Britain.

In later years, he became interested in the history of the operations research discipline and focused on the use of mathematical models in production during the 19th century.

He taught for brief periods in UC Berkeley's and Stanford University's industrial engineering departments and at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

Koenigsberg was known for his warm personality, extensive knowledge and ready ability to discuss numerous disparate topics, said his family.

"My father loved Berkeley - the academic community, the campus, the community at large," said his son, Martin Koenigsberg. "He was here during the 1960s and experienced the gas attacks from the helicopters. He saw that whole story unfold."

Miles recalled Koenigsberg's special talent for photography, saying it "endeared him to a lot of people. You could always see him at faculty functions taking pictures, which he later shared."

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Susan; daughter, Joanna of London; son, Martin of Los Angeles, Calif.; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service was held on April 26 at Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco.

Donations may be sent to the American Friends of The Hebrew University, One Battery Park Plaza, 25th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10004, or via credit card by using the following link: https://www.afhu.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=1.