Kenneth Arrow earned the 1972 Nobel Prize in Economics with Sir John Hicks for pioneering contributions to general equilibrium theory and welfare theory — theories underlying the assessment of business risk and government economic and welfare policies. Arrow came to Stanford in 1949 as an assistant professor of economics and statistics and stayed for two decades, eventually becoming a professor of economics, statistics and operations research. He played a major role in the School of Engineering by helping to create and foster the Department of Operations Research — now part of Management Science and Engineering. Arrow left Stanford in 1968 to take a professorship at Harvard University. One of the most influential economists of the 20th century, Arrow focused on applying economic theory to real-world problems. In a paper written 50 years before healthcare reform in the U.S., he observed that markets do not work in healthcare because patients lack the information they need to evaluate the quality of the services they are receiving.
Sergey Brin cofounded web search giant Google Inc. in 1998 with fellow Stanford student Larry Page. Brin earned his master’s degree in computer science at Stanford, where he and Page developed the “PageRank” algorithm, which calculated the relevance of a web page to the user’s query based in part on the number of other pages that linked to it. PageRank helped make Google the world’s dominant search engine. Today, Brin directs Google’s special projects such as its famed driverless-car initiative. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. He has received the Marconi Prize, given to those who achieve advances in communications and information technology for the social, economic and cultural development of all humanity.
Irmgard Flügge-Lotz (1903-1974) was internationally renowned for her many important contributions to aerodynamics and to automatic control theory. Flügge-Lotz joined the Stanford faculty in 1950 as the university’s first female professor of engineering. A professor of applied mechanics and of aeronautics and astronautics, emeritus, she was the first woman elected as a fellow by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and received the Achievement Award from the Society of Women Engineers. She made significant advancements in methods for the prediction of aerodynamic pressures on bodies, wings and turbine blades, some of which were adopted as standard procedures throughout the world. In automatic control theory, she developed the first theory of discontinuous, or on-off, control systems. Flügge-Lotz published more than 50 technical papers and wrote two books.
Edward Ginzton (1915-1998), cofounder of Varian Associates, helped pioneer the development of klystron radio tubes for use in radar and linear accelerators. During World War II, Ginzton worked with a Stanford team hired to employ the klystron in radar, which played an important role in the war. He later joined brothers Sigurd and Russell Varian, who invented the klystron, to form Varian Associates, which played a major role in Silicon Valley’s early development and became the world leader in medical linear accelerators. Ginzton earned his doctorate in electrical engineering at Stanford. As a professor of electrical engineering and applied physics, Ginzton led a Stanford team that designed the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. He received the IEEE Medal of Honor, and was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.
Larry Page is chief executive officer and cofounder of Google Inc., the world’s dominant web search company. Page earned his master’s degree in computer science at Stanford. While pursuing his PhD at Stanford, Page and fellow student Sergey Brin developed the “PageRank” algorithm, which calculated the relevance of a web page to the user’s query based in part on the number of other pages that linked to it. PageRank became the foundational technology of Google, which he and Brin started in 1998 with Page as the first CEO. From 2001 to 2011, Page was president of products, then resumed responsibility for day-to-day operations as CEO. Page is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received the Marconi Prize, given to those who achieve advances in communications and information technology for the social, economic and cultural development of all humanity.
Sally Ride (1951-2012) was the first American woman to fly in space. She became widely known for her passionate advocacy for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Ride earned bachelor’s degrees in physics and English, and master’s and doctoral degrees in physics at Stanford. She served on the commissions investigating the Challenger explosion in 1986 and the Columbia disaster in 2003. Ride was a professor of physics at the University of California-San Diego and director of the California Space Institute. She founded Sally Ride Science to motivate girls and boys to study science and to explore careers in STEM. She also co-wrote seven science books for children. Ride was a member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology, and the National Research Council’s Space Studies Board. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 2013.