Leonid Hurwicz, 1917-2008

Nobel Prize winner Leonid Hurwicz, the University of Minnesota professor who won the economics prize last year has died. Former MPR report Art Hughes did a wonderful profile of him last year. He’s another example of a generation of immigrants to this country, who took the long route to America, and changed the world.


Hurwicz was born in Moscow to Polish refugees of World War I. His family moved back to Poland shortly after the revolution that gave rise to Joseph Stalin.

At the urging of his father, Hurwicz earned a law degree from the University of Warsaw, but he had since found the subject of his lifelong academic pursuit in a second-year economics class. He entered the London School of Economics.

When Hitler invaded Poland, Hurwicz became a refugee, eventually landing in the United States where he continued his studies at Harvard and the University of Chicago.

That’s a life and half if it had ended there. It didn’t.

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