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Release: January 26, 1995

Contact: Jacquelyn Savani (609/258-5729)

Albert William Tucker

PRINCETON, N.J., January 26, 1995 -- Albert William Tucker, aged

89, former chair of Princeton University's Mathematics Department

and originator of the influential paradox known as the "Prisoner's

Dilemma," died yesterday of complications from pneumonia at the

Presbyterian Home of Meadow Lakes in Hightstown, N.J. The Albert

Baldwin Dod Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus, was a resident of

Princeton.

Tucker, who began his career in mathematics as a topologist, is

best known for his pioneering work in linear programming and game

theory. He was a mentor to the generation of mathematicians who

studied at Princeton from 1940 to 1970.

In 1950 addressing an audience of psychologists at Stanford

University, where he was a visiting professor, Tucker created the

Prisoner's Dilemma to illustrate the difficulty of analyzing non-

zero-sum games (scenarios in which one contestant's victory is not

necessarily the other contestant's defeat). Tucker's simple

paradox has since given rise to a vast literature in subjects as

diverse as philosophy, biology, sociology, political science, and

economics, as well as game theory itself.

The Prisoner's Dilemma depicts two partners in crime confronted

with the following choices: if one confesses and the other does

not, the confessor goes free and the other goes to jail for a long

time; if neither confesses, each goes to jail for a short time; if

both confess, each goes to jail for an intermediate length of

time. Each reasons that he is better off confessing because if

the other confesses, he receives an intermediate sentence by

confessing and a long sentence by not confessing; if the other

does not confess, he goes free by confessing and receives a short

sentence by not confessing. Since each reasons this way, each

confesses, and so each is given an intermediate sentence; whereas

if each had not confessed, each would have received a short

sentence.

Born in Ontario, Canada, on Nov. 28, 1905, Tucker earned his B.A.

in 1928 and his M.A. in 1929, from the University of Toronto. He

received his Ph.D. in 1932 from Princeton. In 1932-33, he was a

National Research Fellow at Cambridge, Harvard, and the University

of Chicago. He joined the Princeton faculty in 1933, advancing to

assistant professor in 1934, to associate professor in 1938, and

to full professor in 1946. He was named to the Dod professorship

in 1953, the same year he became department chair. Tucker retired

to emeritus status in 1974.

In 1948 Tucker initiated a research project on linear programming

and game theory. With support from the Office of Naval Research,

this project continued until 1972, sharing with the Rand

Corporation the distinction of being the major center for game

theory and mathematical programming research in the world. Many

of his doctoral students during this period became leaders in the

field, and one, John F. Nash, was awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize in

Economics for the 1950 Ph.D. thesis Tucker supervised.

Tucker initiated the paperback photo-offset series Annals of

Mathematics Studies, the first such series to publish advanced

mathematics at a reasonable price. He co-edited six volumes of

the series, five on game theory and one on linear inequalities.

In 1993 he co-authored with Evar Nering the book Linear Programs

and Related Problems.

In addition to his visiting professorship at Stanford in 1949-50,

Tucker was a visitor at institutions including MIT, Cornell,

Dartmouth, Haverford College, the Mathematical Association, and

The Rockefeller Institute. He was a Fulbright Lecturer at four

Australian universities in 1956 and lectured at several European

universities in 1959 for the Organization for European Economic

Cooperation.

During World War II, Tucker taught in the Army Specialized

Training Program and the Navy Pre-Rader Program. He also served

as associate director of the Fire Control Research Group at

Princeton, working on target location and gunnery direction

problems for the Office of Scientific Research and Development and

for the Frankfort Arsenal.

Tucker also devoted himself to improvement of the mathematics

curricula in colleges and schools, serving on several national

committees and chairing the Commission on Mathematics of the

College Entrance Examination Board.

Among other leadership roles and associations, Tucker was council

member and trustee of the American Mathematical Society, president

of the Mathematical Association of America, vice president of the

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), chair

of the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS), and a

member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The recipient of an honorary degree from Dartmouth in 1961, Tucker

won the Mathematical Association's Award for Distinguished Service

to Mathematics in 1968 and was a co-winner in 1980 of the von

Neumann Theory Prize, awarded by the Operations Research Society

of America and the Institute of Management Science.

He is survived by his wife, Mary of Princeton; three children,

Alan C. of Stony Brook, N.Y., Thomas W. of Hamilton, N.Y., and

Barbara Cervone of Barrington, R.I.; and six granddchilren.

Internment is private. A memorial service is planned for the

spring. Contributions in lieu of flowers should be made to the

Mathematical Association of American, 1529 18th St., NW,

Washington, DC 20036. Arrangements are by the Hodge Funeral Home

of Princeton.