A Nobel Prize for economics was given Monday to the oldest person in Minneapolis because he was unable to make the trip to Sweden.
Swedish Ambassador Jonas Hafstrom presented Leonid Hurwicz, 90, with the prize in a concert hall on the University of Minnesota campus moments after the two other Americans to share the economics prize received their awards in Stockholm, Sweden.
Hurwicz won the prize with Eric S. Maskin and Roger B. Myerson, both 56, for their work on how people's knowledge and self-interest affect their behavior in the market or in social situations such as voting and labor negotiations.
The Minneapolis event was attended by Hurwicz' wife of 63 years, Evelyn, his brother, three of their children and members of their extended family. Hurwicz said he was thankful for the award, but did not comment extensively.
"He's the smartest man I know," said his cousin, Aviva Breen. "He's the smartest man in the world, actually, and he doesn't make you feel dumb either."
Hurwicz is the oldest person ever to win a Nobel, according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He started teaching at the University of Minnesota in 1951, and is now retired. He has been ailing, and it is difficult for him to travel.
He was not the only winner to miss the ceremony in Stockholm. The literature prize winner, 88-year-old British writer Doris Lessing, was to receive her award in London.
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