Arnold I. Barnett

Arnold I. Barnett

Past Awards

INFORMS Elected Fellows: Awardee(s)

Saul Gass Expository Writing Award: Winner(s)

The 2001 INFORMS Expository Writing Award is presented to Arnold Barnett for his publications in operations research and the management sciences that have set an exemplary standard of exposition.

The award recognizes Professor Barnett for his lucid and entertaining articles on public policy issues of importance both to the profession and to the general public. In papers for technical journals, in the Misapplications Reviews columns in Interfaces, and in general-interest magazine and newspapers, the clarity and forcefulness of his arguments has influenced public policy on numerous topics, particularly in the areas of crime statistics and aviation safety. Over a period of two decades, his writing has served to stress the importance of a good model and logical reasoning in analyzing familiar but complex problems.

The Award Committee believes that the influence of Professor Barnett’s work, and its accessibility in terms of breadth of readership, have been much enhanced by its expository excellence.

INFORMS President's Award: Awardee(s)

Arnold Barnett of MIT's Sloan School has consistently displayed a deep commitment to addressing important societal problems. He has been particularly focused on matters involving "threats to life and limb," the title of a rich and important sequence of sessions he has organized at INFORMS meetings.

He is particularly adept at challenging conventional wisdom about public policy matters. That shows up in the frequency with which the titles of his papers or articles end in a question mark: "Air Safety: End of the Golden Age?," "Business Schools: Failing Fast?," "Good News is No News?," and "America's Vietnam Casualties: Victims of a Class War?."

His enjoyable and informative column on "Misapplications Reviews," that has run intermittently in Interfaces, has been an important vehicle for puncturing erroneous findings and inappropriate uses of research analyses that often appear in the press, or even in refereed research literature.

He has made major operations research contributions to the literature on air safety, often engaging in a debate with the FAA or its officials. He has displayed important concern about crime and particularly homicide, where he has emerged with some striking findings about the probability of being a victim of homicide. It is impressive to see how many of his research papers in these areas have been cited in editorials, have appeared in shortened form as op-ed articles, or have been quoted in leading national publications like Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He has also ventured into a variety of other areas, stimulating public debate about the empirical claims related to The Bell Curve, job discrimination, and affirmative action.

His concern for effective communication is reflected in the fact that the students in the MIT Sloan School have five times selected him as the recipient of their award for most effective teaching. Anyone who has ever listened to Barnett's presentations marvels at his consummate skill in presenting substantive insights intermingled with clever humor.

Arnold Barnett has been an exemplar of careful research, with a strong concern for its societal importance. He invariably provides new illumination to an issue. He works very hard at making the public aware of his research findings with the anticipation that it will lead to better policy and a better society. This all makes him a most appropriate recipient of the INFORMS President's Award.