shines in the Nobel limelight
11 Oct 2000
Jeff Holeman, Berkeleyan editor
modest Daniel McFadden faced the cameras and the rest of the
world early Wednesday as the newest winner of the Nobel Prize
a campus press conference, the Berkeley economics professor
talked about his research and about suddenly finding himself
in the limelight at the most unusual of hours.
was raised to be modest, so it's a bit shocking to be thrust
into a position of prominence," he said, facing a roomful
of photographers, reporters, and beaming colleagues and students.
who said he had gauged his odds of winning the Nobel at "slim
to none," said the 2:30 a.m. phone call from the Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences caught him and his wife, Beverlee Tito
Simboli McFadden, a little off guard.
was jumping on the bed before I knew what was going on," he
said. "It took a while for it to register. My immediate response
was 'Rats, I should have cleaned my office yesterday.'"
award to the College of Letters & Science professor marks
the 17th time a Berkeley professor has won a Nobel prize.
McFadden is Berkeley's third recipient in economics.
only is this a marvelous moment for Professor McFadden but
also for UC Berkeley," Chancellor Robert Berdahl told the
reporters. "This is yet another example of how our world-class
faculty make up the very foundation of our excellence, and
of how our faculty scholarship continues to address important
63, was recognized for his development of statistical methods
relating to the economic theory of "discrete choice," tools
that have been used to determine how people and organizations
make choices from a distinct set of alternatives.
work has been used in decision making on energy, health, environmental
and transportation issues. One noteworthy study - his National
Science Foundation-funded study forecasting demand for mass
transit - advised the developers of the Bay Area Rapid Transit
did not invent BART, and I did not invent the Internet," McFadden
joked, but his economic tools have figured into the equation
around the world in planning mass transit.
considers himself a "designer of machinery, which other scientists
can use." He builds models, he said, that other economists
use to affect economic policy.
Nobel Prize in economics, which McFadden shares with his friend
James Heckman of the University of Chicago, provides an award
of $915,000. McFadden has not decided how he will spend his
half of the money. Outside of his teaching and research, McFadden
spends his time working on the small Napa Valley farm and
vineyard he shares with his wife.
grew up on a farm in North Carolina, where, he said, he read
a lot of books, was taught to be modest and dreamed of becoming
a farm agent or novelist. Looking back at the career path
he eventually followed, he told reporters he was satisfied.
gotten more than I dreamed," he said.
will accept his award at a formal ceremony this December in