WMU News

Professor who seeks to answer 'What if?' visits WMU

Nov. 1, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- What if every situation that humans encounter had a known outcome? One University of California professor, who will visit Western Michigan University next month, has a passion for figuring out all of the possibilities.

Dr. Mark J. Machina, noted uncertainty theorist and professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego will speak at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7 in Room 3508 of Knauss Hall. The topic of his presentation is "States of the World and the State of Decision Science." His address is the third in this year's Werner Sichel Lecture-Seminar Series, which focuses on "The Economics of Risk." The event is free and open to the public.

Two-fold in nature, his talk will first cover the economics principle dealing with uncertainty in the world. The second part of his address will present arguments on how to attack the problem of uncertainty and the risks involved.

According to Dr. Donald Meyer, WMU associate professor of economics, uncertainty is the unknown element in any situation. It is reduced when all the probabilities and possible outcomes of a situation are known. Machina uses mathematical modeling to determine uncertainty in situations that do not have clear outcomes.

"Machina seeks to explore the question of how people view uncertainty," says Meyer. "He looks at the risks involved in decisions that humans make everyday."

Now in its 38th year, the Werner Sichel Lecture-Seminar Series is sponsored by WMU's College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Economics and the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. For more information, contact Meyer at (616) 387-5531 or <donald.meyer@wmich.edu> or contact the Department of Economics at (616) 387-5535.

Media contact: Scott K. Crary, 616 387-8400

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