Paul A. Samuelson (1915–2009)
Nobel laureate in Economics, 1970
Institute Professor 1966–2009

Referred to as the “father of modern economics,” Paul Samuelson’s monolithic legacy includes being the first American to win the Nobel Prize in economics, authoring the best-selling economics textbook of all time (Economics: An Introductory Analysis), and serving as an advisor to US presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Professor Samuelson was instrumental in transforming his discipline into one of problem solving beyond the boundaries of numbers and economics. He earned his PhD in economics from Harvard University and was an Institute Professor at MIT.

Highlights from this interview include:

  • World War II’s impact on MIT’s student body and on the faculty’s research focus.
  • Efforts to encourage post-WW II exploration in the sciences.
  • Thoughts on being John F. Kennedy’s principle economic advisor.
  • Overview of the early renovations made to the Department of Economics.
  • Commentary on his overwhelming success with his “life-changing” economics textbook.
  • Views on how academic economics research fits into the country’s agenda.