Lawrence D. Stone

September 2, 1942

Brief Biography

Lawrence D. Stone is a recipient of the Frederick W. Lanchester and Jacinto Steinhardt Prizes. In 1964, Stone received his bachelors from Antioch College in Ohio. He pursued graduate level mathematics at Purdue University, earning his PhD in the subject under Glen Earl Baxter in 1967. After completing his studies, Stone joined Daniel H. Wagner, Associates, working on pertinent projects for the United States Navy and Coast Guard.

During the 1968 search for the remains of the submarine Scorpion, Dr. Stone provided on-scene analysis assistance for six weeks near the Azores.  In 1974, he rendered on-scene assistance to the Navy in a search for unexplored ordnance in the Suez Canal. His early contributions to search theory came together in 1975’sTheory of Optimal Search. The book was awarded that year’s Frederick W. Lanchester Prize for best publication in operations research and secured Stone’s reputation as a leading search theorist. In 1979, he served as co-director of the NATO Advance Research Institute on Search Theory and Applications in Portugal and co-editor of the resulting proceedings. In addition to his research and application, Stone has taught search theory courses part-time at the Naval Postgraduate School.

After eighteen years at Daniel H. Wagner Associates, Stone joined Metron Inc. In 1986, he helped the Columbus America Discovery Group find the missing S.S. Central America, a mid-nineteenth century cargo vessel that had sunk over one and a half miles below the ocean’s surface. Stone’s application of search theory with Metron has continued into the twenty-first century. He led the company’s efforts to provide search planning advice for the successful recovery of underwater wreckage from the 2009 Air France Flight 447 mid-Atlantic crash. Stone was Metron’s Chief Operating Officer starting in 1990 prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer in 2004.

In 2007, Stone was awarded the Jacinto Steinhardt Prize of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences for his career contributions to military OR. In addition to his work with the Coast Guard and Navy, he was celebrated for his influential publications on search theory and probability mapping, including Theory of Optimal Search and Bayesian Multiple Target Tracking (Second Edition, 2014).

Stone is currently Chief Scientist at Metron, having stepped down from his duties as CEO in 2010. He continues to work on a number of projects, including the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System. Since 2002, he has been a member of Antioch University’s Board of Governors during which time he has served terms as its Chair and Vice Chair.  

Other Biographies

Antioch University. Board of Governors: Larry Stone. Accessed May 22, 2015. (link

Metron Inc. Management: Lawrence D. Stone. Accessed May 22, 2015. (link


Antioch College, BS 1964

Purdue University, MS 1966

Purdue University, PhD 1967 (Mathematics Genealogy


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations
  • U. S. Navy
  • Daniel H. Wagner, Associates
  • Metron Inc.
  • U. S. Coast Guard 

Key Interests in OR/MS

  • Detection and Tracking
Application Areas

Oral Histories

Lawrence Stone Interview By Allen Butler, November 13, 2016, Nashville TN.

NOTE: The video chapter transcripts are searchable, with search results displayed as marks on the time bar above the search box.  Click a mark to jump to the search word or phrase in the video and transcript, or click on any word in the transcript to jump to that point in the video.

Jump to Chapters

Chapter 1: Early Life
Chapter 2: Graduate School
Chapter 3: First Job at Wagner Associates
Chapter 4: Searching for the US Scorpion
Chapter 5: Mentors
Chapter 6: Searching for Ordinance in the Suez Canal
Chapter 7: Monte Carlo Search and Particle Filters
Chapter 8: Leaving Wagner Associates for Metron
Chapter 9: Searching for the SS Central America
Chapter 10: Tracking and Locating Targets
Chapter 11: Searching for Air France 447
Chapter 12: Latest Book
Chapter 13: Legacy in OR

Awards and Honors

Frederick W. Lanchester Prize 1975

National Academy of Engineering 1999

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

Jacinto Steinhardt Prize 2007

Selected Publications

Richardson H. R. & Stone L. D. (1971) Operations analysis during the underwater search for Scorpion. Naval Research Logistics Quarterly, 18(2): 141-157.

Stone L. D. (1975) Theory of Optimal Search. Academic Press: New York.

Haley K. B. & Stone L. D., eds. (1980) Search Theory and Applications. Plenum Press: New York.

Stone L. D. (1992) Search for the SS Central America: mathematical treasure hunting. Interfaces, 22(1): 32-54.

Stone L. D., Corwin T. L., & Bell K. L. (2014) Bayesian Multiple Target Tracking, 2nd Edition. Artech House: Norwood, MA.

Kratzke T. M., Stone L. D., & Frost J. R. (2010) Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Information Fusion, Edinburgh UK 26 – 29 July. IEEE: Washington, DC.

Stone L. D. (2011) In search of Air France Flight 447. OR/MS Today, 38(4). (link