My youngest brother called this morning. He had just been notified that he was one of three Americans who will be awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in Stockholm, Sweden.
Lars Peter Hansen is a world-renown econometrician and an economics professor at the University of Chicago.
While all of Lars’ early years were spent in East Lansing, Michigan, he has strong ties to Utah. (Our Mother and Father were both born in Smithfield, UT.) He graduated from Logan High School and did his undergraduate work at Utah State University, where our father was the Academic Vice President (Provost). According to a USU news release:
Bartell Jensen, a USU emeriti professor of economics and mathematics, taught Hansen as an undergraduate. Reflecting on Hansen’s days as a student, Jensen said he was a delight and that he was a rare and stunning intellectual.
“I am very proud of Lars,” said Jensen. ”His career has blossomed, but he hasn’t let it go to his head. He an exceptionally humble and personable individual.
Lars did his graduate work at the University of Minnesota. On one occasion, I had a chance to visit him there. When I checked out the kitchen in his apartment, there was nothing but cold cereal in the cabinets. I think Lars was spending most of his time outside his humble abode, working on his academic career.
Before taking a job at the University of Chicago, he worked briefly at Carnegie-Mellon University. On December 2, 2013, former students and colleagues had a conference to honor Lars. At the conference, it was noted that Lars has been the adviser and mentor of 58 successful PhD candidates.
Our Mother, who is 93, lives in St. George, Utah. Our other brother–Ted Howard Hansen–is currently in the process of retiring from his position (immunologist) at Washington University in St. Louis. Our parents always placed an extremely high value on education. Their three sons all ended up with PhDs. One in biology, one in economics, and one in civil engineering. Two of the wives also have PhDs. Talk about an over-educated family.
Because the Nobel Prize is Swedish, Lars has had questions asked about his Scandinavian ancestry. Out of 16 great-great-grandparents, here is the breakdown: Denmark 7, Sweden 2, US 3, Wales 2, and England 2. Lars’ family tree can be seen here: larshansenhistory.
Lars and his wife–Grace Tsiang–have one son, Peter Hansen, who is a student at the University of Chicago. Lars has 6 nephews and nieces who are all very proud of their uncle.
Over the last few years, family members have attended several ceremonies where Lars has received very prestigious awards. At these occasions, we all knew that Lars was being rewarded for doing incredible work in the field of econometrics. A couple of years ago, at a ceremony in Madrid, Spain, Ted and I instructed Lars to give proper credit to his brothers when accepting the award. Which he graciously did. But unfortunately for Ted and I, we were last on the list after his wife, son, parents, and colleagues.
During a recent television interview with a local Utah station, I stated that Lars is the perfect mix of intellect, drive, and humility. And that is certainly true. Congratulations Lars.
For more information about Lars click here.
For more information about Lars’ research click here.
For information about Lars and the University of Chicago click here.
For the SLTrib article click here.