Professor Dr. Don Saari

Professor Don Saari was the Chair of IIASA’s governing Council from November 2014 to June 2017.

Courtesy of Don Saari

Courtesy of Don Saari

Don Saari is an American academic with over 40 years’ experience of conducting interdisciplinary and international research. His passion is applying mathematics to areas as diverse as people and the universe. His research career began in astronomy  where he used mathematics to explore the motion of celestial objects and the evolution of the universe in the years after gaining his PhD in mathematics from Purdue University. Today he applies mathematics to resolving some of the fascinating mysteries coming from the behavioral sciences. 

This mix of physical and social sciences made Saari ideal to Chair the governing board of an interdisciplinary institute like IIASA. This role complemented his positions as Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and of Economics at the University of California, Irvine, where he also directs the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences. Saari’s international experience was also a great benefit as he worked with the 22 national members that make up IIASA’s governing Council. Alongside his native US, he has held research positions in Brazil, France, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland as well as at IIASA since accepting his first position abroad as a visiting scholar at ETH, Zurich in 1970.

Some of Saari’s most widely quoted work has been researching the mathematics of voting and decision rules after he published the book Chaotic Elections!: A Mathematician Looks at Voting in 2001. Prior to this book and to moving to California in 2000, he was the Pancoe Professor of Mathematics at Northwestern University in the US. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.

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Last edited: 10 October 2017


Donald Saari

Distinguished Professor, Mathematics and Economics (Pancoe Professor Emeritus: Northwestern University); Director, Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Irvine


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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