NOTE: First 2 minutes have audio distortion. Comments and remarks from the retirement celebration honoring the work of Bob Axelrod. September, 2019.
Negotiators that are near it.
Those of you will know that
retirement is not really.
And wonderful to be able to.
Do who is the we is that in the many
many years I'm thrilled to be able to.
Not all or any all or.
Those of you know a little bit about.
Day Little want.
To need all.
Thank you Michael.
It's great to see you well here.
We are changing the order of the program
because you know we're optimizers here and
we looked at the program we printed it we
evaluated it and said Now we're going to
make it slightly different but we'll
let that go about that evolve as the.
As we go.
As Bob said the master of ceremonies
I have the privilege of of.
Introducing moderating and
pacing celebretory remarks by a number
of Bob's colleagues and friends in this
case actually I think each of our speakers
as both colleague and friend and
I include myself in that group as well.
Before we get to those remarks
I do want to take a moment
to remember Michael Cohen.
A friend and colleague and Moore who died
several years ago and who would surely
be on this program if he were alive and
we wouldn't know what he would say because
you never knew in advance of Michael's
going to say it's impossible to imagine
the development of the Ford school and
the School of Information and
the influence that Bob has had on
scholarship and policy without seeing and
hearing Michael as he helped
everyone around him be smarter and
better and kinder so we missed him.
But he's part of the story still.
I asked Bob if there was anything in
particular that I should attend to
from the lectern and he was very clear
he said I should introduce people and
make sure that they don't talk for
very long this is.
So except for Bob Putnam who
came a long way to be here and
therefore gets a longer time to talk.
I'm going to hold people
to about 3 minutes and
they all say No problem you know these
people will see how that works and.
Notwithstanding that each topic that the
speakers will address talking about Bob
could form the basis of a long
symposium or a long book or
a full semester course followed by
another full semester course so
I will endeavor to take a little less than
3 minutes we will change up the order.
Following me Nancy Burns chair
a political science will speak
then Jim Mora political
science professor then.
Carl Simon and then Scott page that which
you guys have agreed you're stuck inside
stable now for half a day Ok that's good.
I understand that.
So all of those were these will speak
about aspects of Bob's work and
its impact and
I want to know to few things too so
claiming the privilege of
the of the lectern One is
that Bob's work repeatedly comes
back to the goal of a peaceful or
at least more peaceful society
one of reduced conflict
he's exemplary in his ability
to use sophisticated methods and
his own sophisticated mind to bring
science to policy making sure that he
gets the science right and
they believe him to get the policy right.
This combination of methods and
skills has enabled him to develop and
use a well diverted deserved
reputation as an honest broker
he understands conflict in ways
that allow him to learn from and
to teach people who are engaged with
conflict real conflict in the real world
he's a nice guy to be sure but
his diplomatic and scientific capability
derives not from the fact that he's a nice
guy but from skill and integrity and
it's exemplary of what we would like
science in the service of policy to be.
Michael talked about Bob's talk yesterday
about cybersecurity It was terrifying so
during the reception if you want to be
terrified to talk to pump those issues.
I've known Bob as a friend and
colleague since he came to Michigan
about a year after I did and
it was my pleasure on several occasions.
To negotiate agreements with him they
were designed to keep him at Michigan and
keep him happy and
not bankrupt the organization.
There were times when I would ask
myself just how could I have got into
a situation where my job description
included bargaining with Bob Axelrod and
his 0 sum game.
It turned out to help a lot that
the game was never quite 0 sum
because Bob always wanted to
make the place around him
better as well as to make his world work
well indeed he thought that the place
around him was part of his world and
he paid a great deal of attention to it
it's striking that with his
very successful career and
very public career in many ways if
you look through his very long c.v.
you don't find chair associate
chair Dean associate dean Provost
you don't find any of those titles there
instead the University of Michigan and
Bob both figured out that his
comparative advantage was in scholarship
scholarship is what he did and
both the university and
Bob and I would say the world
have benefited accordingly so
now next and she burns.
This so I am really thrilled to get
to say a few words about Bob And
for those of you who know me know you
know that I like data so I went back and
read Bob's in your will
reports from the beginning.
And part of the fun of that
we're seeing the meteoric
path of his career
through the late 1970 s.
not in retrospect but
while it was happening each year.
Jim and Scott and Carl and
Bob will I'm sure talk about the crazy and
inventive power of the ideas
that were that path and
by 978 at least reading my data
you can see the future you could
see the ways that Bob's ideas which shape
the world but what I want to call out
is something else something that echoes
part of what Paul talked about and that
is the character of his local citizenship
through his nearly 50 years at Michigan.
Bob citizenship for those of you have been
in a department meeting in a committee
meeting with him has no has been marked by
worrying over framework for
thinking through whatever issues or
decisions have been facing whatever
body is is that hand and so
I'm going to speak from on behalf of the
department a hiring decision a tenure case
some crazy issue that came out of nowhere
whether it was in a faculty meeting
one of his many terms on the department's
executive committee as admissions director
Bob always arrive to the plan he
had a framework to put on the table
an agenda setting framework one that
he had worked out and worried over in
the fine grain and then had sketched
on a very tiny piece of paper.
Take care and
engagement represented in those decades
of tiny pieces of paper about every
important thing that we have done
as a department shape the place it's
shaped the character of our decisions and
it set a model for
those who are just joining the depart.
And we are tremendously fortunate in
this you know fortunate in your time in
the department fortunate for
the decades of tiny pieces of paper and so
I just want to thank you and say that
I'm honored to have been your colleague.
So I think through this I want to come
up with a relatively simple direct but
important observation Bob's career
most of us work on well defined and
exception questions aiding
the accumulation of knowledge
through the accretion of results and
One of the hallmarks of Bob's
career is his ability to write
the 1st paper rather than
another paper using simple but
elegant mathematics to lay out the essence
of a problem that was ill defined and
poorly understood before Bob's
recent paper in the Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences on the
timing use of cyber vulnerabilities for
example shows that the exploitation
of such weapons is more complicated
contingent than is commonly believed that
paper shows that the persistence and
stealth of a vulnerability along with the
distribution of the value of opportunities
influences one and after she use it
contrary to the common wisdom of use them
or lose them that argues for
early use now I shouldn't tell personal
story here that's related to another one
of these papers I don't think I ever told
you this one before Bob but another paper
this in this vein is the rational timing
of surprise which was published
in world politics in 1909 it also
happens to be the 1st time we met although
neither of us knew it at the time.
In those days all the reviews for
world politics were done in-house
by the Princeton faculty.
But then they got this paper and
it had math in it and so
someone there Senate out to Bruce came
who was one of my advisors the time
a Cal Tech and he sort of looked and
said oh it's got math give it to morrow.
And so he gave it to me because I like
Bob was a math major plan to get a Ph d.
in political science in fact Bob
did this 15 years before I did and
I read it and
I thought the paper was pretty good and
if you ask my students
that's very high praise.
about this way we met remotely through the
review process without even knowing it and
so here's to Bob who writes the 1st paper
on topics rather than just another.
I see Aaron was going to
pass out some pictures but
we'll see him oh good just to throw it's
all about so people can see him quickly.
So I want to talk a little
more about Bob's work and
my how exciting it has been
to be even close to it.
My talk has 4 characters and
the pictures you're about to see has those
4 characters and of the 4 characters
are Bill Hamilton Bob is
the Bill Williams The Hamilton William d.
Bill how do you describe Bill I
think Bob would agree with this
in the in the 18 sixty's there
was Darwin in the 1980 s.
there was Hamilton and
everyone else's comes afterwards
that there I think that's where.
John Holl and John Holland and
Merida how and is here John
is was a the very 1st
computer science Ph d.
at Michigan he invented something
called the genetic algorithms and
that really was a catalyst of many
of the things that we did hear
from person in the world
Oh Ok I think you're.
The can can you see from those
pictures about what it was to.
The guy and that Michael Cohen.
We mentioned Michael Cohen.
Oh my my oh my go.
I was right.
It's incredibly great to
work with he was one of
the co-founders of the school information
here and played a big role so
those are the 4 characters and therefore
on the left side of that picture.
Both Axelrod and and
Holland have MacArthur Genius Award for
example I've told you what I thought of
Hamilton I just came back from Oxford
meeting about Hamilton's rule which
I must say was pretty impressive.
So the Smy story starts around 1980 and
Kenyon my 2 hours I have got now
only 40 years to cover right.
So nobody talked about the prisoner's
dilemma How can you talk about buybacks
arrive without mentioning the Prisoner's
Dilemma Ok Also everyone knows about arms
races and co-operation and defecting and
that in a one shot game defecting
is the only feasible strategy and
the question is What if we had a lot
of people played over and over
again repeated prisoner's dilemma no one
had an idea of what the solution was and
Bob's ingenious idea was let's
S.E.'s experts so we had tournaments
in which all the experts in game theory
submitted their favorite strategies for
solving repeat repeated prisoner's
dilemma you know the story.
The winner was the simplest and
of all Rapoport stood for
tat which was do unto your opponent what
that your opponent done did to us time.
This was a little too simple Bob ran it
again with the same more sophisticated
group and the same results and
so this was the end
most of this was beginning sort of focused
on political science Bob was really eager
to to understand how much how
this might reflect biology and
and you know more of the biological So I
asked one of the participants a guy named
Richard Dawkins who's written a few
books and Richard said you had
the very best person in the area down the
street at the University of Michigan check
with Bill Hamilton they did the
partnership was incredibly productive and
exciting I wish I was there
they're sort of 2 quiet people but
I'd bet the room buzzed when they talk
they wrote a paper talking about.
The whose title was
the emergence of cooperation.
It won the Best Picture Best
paper in Science in 1081
the Cleveland price and Bob later wrote
a book based with the same title.
Which I believe brought and
sitting there at my desk.
Michael Meanwhile Michael and
Michael Cullen and
Bob Barr working together
writing a paper on
a piece of something economists couldn't
dream of preferences might change and
adapt and they had one point asked
me to interact with them and
answer and look over their shoulders
which I did we began a friendship.
Meanwhile there's all around $181.00
in the Michael Cohen is sitting and
John Howard's genetic algorithms course so
I'm going to take 30 seconds for
a lesson and genetic algorithms
Ok fall will be on the test.
So imagine you're taking
a computer out of the again.
Just checkers takes a pill and it's kind
of bunch of rules to follow the rules
given that farted you
asian here's what you do.
These are my sequences there isn't one and
you could prove any way
to think I always put every roll in but
not for checkers or chess.
And so you could teach your computer but
how do you know what moves
you going to put in well.
John figured out how to put sex into the
story by having rules mate with each other
in the sense that hopefully every
rule got some point every time it.
Was part of a winning game and
it would take up the strongest rules and
made their way to other so
that maybe the best part of why would you
know you can strings of zeroes and want.
To form no rules would
hopefully be stronger
they were they fall by
the wayside not they were made of
a much better program we often
usually every now and then and
this genetic algorithm is sort of been one
of the things that has been the focus of.
I was excited he.
Talked to John Howard about
getting together brainstorm about.
The role you may play.
Michael got his good
friend Bob actually ride.
Out and brought his mentor Arthur Burke's
who were the co-inventor computer
with John Bunyan and and and
how would these his advisor and the
Florida got together to meet everything.
They did in a group after their initial b.
a the box group and a.
Brain starving have brainstorming haven't.
They felt the cup already
good bad on Dr Phil Hamilton
into the picture they also
got a guy on our computer.
Has been and and
postdoc really all off and
I was brought in a sort of a man
you know in our meth Muckler.
Those were and
we would still be together every week for
a few hours nobody ever messed with one.
Because we knew.
In the oh I was young.
Go you carry her with her book the book.
Your war my calling and.
Both to meet with the group and.
Go oh well we'll be out.
At that age and how complex the day he.
And it basically a be.
Anyway we created and
then we talked about the genetic our
land as it were with enough work and
how to make it all.
So called The Very 1st it.
Really took a lot of our.
Power took a prisoner's
dilemma at the Congress.
Do you know there's a there's
a computer learning system
could a critical future computer or.
A great t.v..
Put in the rule.
Of law put in a bunker the government will
read the old file you're going what you're
going to do this time and
the last time look you you know at.
End the rules evolve.
Rule the playing.
Word on its own.
Day My night vision of the.
Campaign with a.
Day and we came back the computer core.
I was I don't.
Get out or play and
what's the best read again what.
Is the last book they're
going to think in 5 words
will happen that will affect you in.
Yohannes wildlife The question
is why did the fact.
We all think about this all the time
I thought very good in
this case to make one.
Countries go through this.
Now moving back here
was a parasite of late.
Yet here are there is an arms race
going around Italy in the world.
Will revive over there I.
Think again so why mix needed
again Paul every thought would be
very a parasite were there were more
playgrounds are a great idea but
right now the narrative of the car
wreck red line feel good or
right look at the footage where
there are 3 that are that
are you know I know whatever
they felt their back.
So they go.
With you know.
Rather than your.
Book will eventually work all
that you're going to be doing.
When you publish.
You have made a career of
following Carl which is not easy.
I want to echo what Paul said in that for
all of Bob's personal accolades
I think the fact that the university is
a better place because of him is something
that we really should celebrate no want
to just give for quick snapshots but
his mentor Bob is scientist but
his colleague in Bob his role model so
as mentor Bob is like when you meet with
Bob It's like meeting with a Zen master So
let me just give one example something I
call the Axelrod rule that I've taught
thousands of undergraduates that is what I
said about how do you manage your schedule
and he says I use something called the
next thursday rule if somebody invites me
to do something at some point it's going
to be next Thursday right and so you think
about it would I do this next Thursday and
if you wouldn't don't do it now.
So to the people of Fargo and
the people of oxygen in tacky I'm sorry
I didn't go but it's Bob's fault.
Something Bob a scientist Bob again had
all these sort of rules like you know one
of these amazing about Bob is he writes
and speaks in thinks with such clarity
you know he talks about keeping it simple
stupid in the context of his models but
that actually takes a lot of bravery
to write articles that are clear and
to the point in don't obvious Kate and
I think that as a scientist when
you look at his work on tit for
tat as culture model his optimal timing
of surprises each of those projects could
have been made so complicated so
sophisticated with fancy
language that no one could have understood
him and instead Bob had the bravery and
the courage I think to to write work and
to do work that other people could
understand there was a colleague Kark
Clark curve former president of California
said that university universities
exist for 3 purposes.
Football for the alumni.
Sex for the students parking for
While that's partly true.
I think that what's most important with
all the committees everything else is that
these are places of ideas and
one of the things that I
actually did a small amount of
character work Nancy don't faint.
And I look back at the last
80 e-mails I got from.
61 had academic content that's a 3 to
one ratio if you think about how much we
communicate with one another and how much
of it's actually really about ideas read
this paper have you seen this thing
if if we could live to that ratio
I just could only imagine what an amazing
intellectual place that would be and
then last Bob's exemplar wife Jen and
I often ask ourselves Are we call
the Mary Oliver question which is a matter
that recently deceased put me off or
what will you do with what you're
one wild and precious life right and
that's a big question and one things I've
always looked up to Bob for is that again
he said the courage to say I'm going to
work on the small problem of world peace.
And it's so every day when you get up
Bob sets sort of a very high bar and
has just been a huge role model for
me and for
many other people and part of the reason
this is a great public university
is because Bob Axelrod has been here for
almost 5 decades making it one.
So next for a longer talk will be
Bob Putnam of Harvard although
Bob Putnam some of us remember at least
I do this really from Michigan but
his detour to Harvard for 40 odd years.
It's a pleasure to be really is
a pleasure for Rosemary to be back here.
I think I can share the secret No
worries Rosemary sitting for the last
I got it for the last for the last
50 years including the last 40 years
the password of our bank
account has been go through.
And I want to say to the dean I this
is a marvelous institution I think I am
the only person maybe in the room and
possibly in the world who is actually
in the small group of people who founded
the predecessor of this is to she was I
remember coming to Michigan to be one
of the founding members and it ensued
public policy does I'm not sure there are
people even people know that term anymore
probably Ok well it's a it's a great
university it is a fabulous university and
this institution is of have listened
to it I have a lot of things I want to
say I'm going to cut some of it because
it's it's getting a little long Bob has
an extraordinary record of professional
achievement as we've already heard and
I'll maybe say a little bit about that
later although because people talked about
that already I'm going to cut a little
bit of what I was going to say about his
public record the reason is because I
know Bob really well there are probably
only 2 people in this room who know him
Bob longer than I have his brother and
I 1st met Bob 55 years ago this month.
As we began our graduate student
studies together at Yale in the fall of
1904 we met because my wife
Rosemary back there and
Bob his brother Dave which where's here.
We're in Sunday school together.
In Evanston Illinois in the 1950 s.
My relations but
with Bob have really deep roots.
And and because of that connection Bob and
I happen to make connections the 1st
week of graduate school in
New Haven Bob is the only person
outside of outside of our immediate
family who still calls Rosemary by her
childhood name row so
if somebody calls and ask for
a role I'm sure I mean I'm sure as Bob is
asking for Rowe or or a bill collector or
something as it happened Bob and I that
fall the fall of 164 we're both students
in Bob dull seminar on
democratic theory and
my 1st impression was that Bob was
a smartest person I had ever met and
now you may want to discount
that comparative evaluation.
I mean I had I was a hit
from a small Midwestern town
how many smart people
a could I have met so
to say that he was a sort of person I've
ever met without and it was Ohio at that.
But in the in the ensuing have Century
I've been lucky enough to meet lots of
really smart people many of them in this
room and Bob has never lost that title for
me we soon discovered in Bob Dole's
class that we shared many intellectual
interests but that our mire our minds
were somehow wired differently and
I've long struggle to figure out
how to put into words because
you'll see the 2nd I've spent a lot of
time thinking and talking with Bob and
therefore I've been trying to figure out
how to because our minds are not wired.
The same we're both reasonably
successful as academics but.
I think I want to say my mind is wide and
Bob's is deep that is I'm
pretty good at seeing patterns across
a wide array of things I notice things
that I've seen in some other part of this
of data actually especially data and
I'm pretty good at that but
Bob is even better at pursuing
a theoretical issue deeply deeply deeply
into its core and discerning some
fundamental often mathematical truth that
people hadn't ever gotten to before and
it turns out to have lots of unexpected
implications in an astonishing about
the wide range of applications so he's
not narrow at all I don't mean that but
he got to all this other stuff cancer and
world peace and
all that by going really deep and
when I went to Bobby's
focus on something radical puzzle He's
like a terrier he just digs deeper and
deeper and deeper just never letting go
until he's figured out in a deep way and
you know Bob this is true because every
time we get together you get you're
working on something and you're not
ever satisfied until you've got down
really deeply now it may
have been because of
this mental complementarity that
our minds are somehow different but
we share a lot of subsidy of interest
democratic theory initially that Bob and
I got into this is really the topic
since from what I want to say Bob and
I got into the practice
that fall the fall of 1964
of getting together regularly
just to talk began in.
The tumble down apartment
where Rosemary and I lived and
we would just get together.
Roughly once a week as I remember may have
been were every other couple of weeks and
we would talk.
And sometimes you talk about public
affairs this is it's so old that so
long ago that I remember spending hours
with Bob chewing over the Vietnam War This
was the early days the Vietnam War what
everybody in this room knows about
the event now more from after the fact and
what I mean therefore is
you know that what was right or wrong but
when you approach it from the other
direction it with the beginning it was not
so white so clear what the right least
wasn't played a lot of people what the
right answer was and I remember Bob and
I talk a lot about that but mostly we
thought focused on scholarship and
mostly we focused on big basic issues
of debt basic democratic theory
that Bob dollars seminar was exploring
that fall for example how big
should a democracy be turns out that's
actually that's a complicated question if
you think deeply about it it's not at all
clear how big a democracy should be or
what enabled democracy to work no.
Unlike lots of other people assume I
have Bob and I have never worked or
lived together in the same place ever he's
my closest professional colleague and
I've never lived in the same town as he
had because I worked hard to get him to
Michigan and we worked hard
together to get Bob to Michigan and
then the very year he
arrived here I left and
went elsewhere not because of Bob
obviously but other other things.
decades now almost every year Bob and
I have scheduled a visit of several days
in which we take turns describing our
our current interests our future
interests and offering deep
incisive no holds barred but affectionate
criticism of one another's ideas it's
very rare to have that relationship with
some I'm in my career I've never
experienced that in which I felt so
comfortable with somebody else that
I would say really dumb ideas and
get back really thoughtful criticism.
In my experience is sort of relationship I
think is extremely rare I actually don't
know of any other examples of it but I
think both of us certainly I would say and
I think Bob would say that it's been
essential to our own economic success 2nd
academic successes because that's
a terrific privilege to have.
As you can imagine Let me
give a couple of examples.
And I apologize for being personal here
but this is mostly personal I've never
taken a course in game 3 ever except
learning from Bob as he explained his
own research and that goes back actually
to the very beginning because in the very
beginning Bob was even certainly well
before evolution of cooperation actually
even before his dissertation he was
talking about game theory and conflict and
so on and and you know he's he stayed in
touch with game theory the rest of his
career and I have therefore just because
all the time I've been talking about it.
And but I've never never ever studied game
theory I'm sorry I'm embarrassed to say
but in nearly every project of my career
if you look at the projects in my career
from my dissertation to my work on
2 level games international affairs
to my discovery of the idea of
social capital well at all those
stages game theory as I learned from
Bob in these private seminars has
always played a critical role
when I late one night in Oxford.
I stumbled on to Jim Coleman's book
about social capital I'd never heard of
Jim Coleman and I never heard of
social capital but I was up late and
I was looking for a book to put me to
sleep in there was a big book on social
theory that sounded like
just the ticket and
I turned to the chapter on social
capital I sat down and read it and
I said I'm not talking about me
because I had worked with Bob so
long I saw instantly what
social capital is about and
that it would be worth spending really the
rest of my career on and that was because.
Just as repeat play games that Baba
talked about embody the shadow of
the future it turns out that social
capital is bodies the shadow of
the neighborhood I'm not going to
give you the whole lecture here but
the turns out deep deep underneath the
math of those 2 problems that is the math
of how the shadow of
the neighborhood influences.
Can help you solve prisoners' limits
is almost identical to the math
the bollard worked out of why repeat play
I mean I'm not going to go all patients
of course the people doesn't always have
work its magic and networks don't always
work their magic Well I'm trying to
say is it's only because Bob had been
insistent about teaching me about game
theory all those years that I ever
stumbled understood the idea of social
capital and give a different example.
In the early 1970 s.
while I was a young assistant professor
working at that point in Haven Hall I know
it does happen all still exist
maybe it's been torn down.
In its I remember Room 624 in Haven hall
pardon that doesn't exist
there should be a medal or.
I had begun while there I begun Morris
backs that a study of regional government
in Italy don't ask why
done it was not clear and
20 years later I had long gone from Ann
Arbor and the study was still unfinished
and because a study of a tongue in a local
government it turned out was of interest
only to the 4 academics in the world who
cared about a tell you look at government
and I was in that frustrated frame of mind
one fall when I returned an arbor for
one of my regular meetings with
Bob Bob will remember this dinner.
Over a long dinner at a restaurant I
couldn't remember the name of the rest of
it was on Packard Avenue take
it to the where the best was.
I explained to Bob that I got into this
dead end of this decade's long by then
investment that I made and Bob summarized
the problem very succinctly he
said I'm I remember when he said don't
publish until whatever you have to say
will be of interest to people who couldn't
care less about Italian government
now that seems obvious right but I was
in a frame of mind in which I could see
I could get out of the work this mass if
I just raised my sights a little bit and
then we considered how to raise the sights
of this project above harkens back
to the seminar with the all on
democratic theory and on as I remember I
told you part of that so it was what
makes democracy work and I left
an arbor that next day with a clarified
mission and within 4 years I published
a book called making democracy work which
are lots of work out Ok and that was Bob.
Not just the title but the I wouldn't have
gotten there without Bob's without this
intellectual friendship I know that he's
a great collaborator the everybody but
I'm just trying to tell you that goes
back really deeply in his career and
it will instill in this mode of personal
reflection let me had electoral action
from Rosemary that every time
Bob who was then still single
would visit us remember he came often
he invariably brought a very thoughtful
exceptionally intelligent gift for
our 2 kids.
Who are now in the early fifty's but
at that point words they were
they were in their early
not even their early teens they were
certainly their early whatevers ots.
Bob was an any oh it was often a brain
teasing toy toy Bobby remember all this I
felt remember this and he was like
a doting uncle when he arrived and
knowing we know therefore we knew
was going to be a great dad.
But you know it takes 2 to
tango we've heard that already.
And therefore we rejoice when
Bob meant anywheres in the city
when Bob met Amy because.
They had $2000000000.00 of their own and
as we fully fully expected Bob became
a doting parents himself and
is now doubtless a doting grandfather.
And then when these 2 families
are very interconnected I'm
going to stop with the personal stuff
in a 2nd but I this is relevant when.
This little daughter of
ours when she grew up
she came back to Michigan
when he became a Ph d.
in history here moved here with her
husband who is from Costa Rica and
the 2 people in Ann Arbor
who welcomed our daughter.
Were of course Bob And
Amy I know I'm just tell you another
example of what a nice guy he is
a lot of nice couple they are.
But it goes back a long way.
I want to say one more enduring
recollection for earliest days
this has been already already referred
to but I can take it back quite early
Bob his mind as we all know is dauntingly
theoretical and even abstract but
it was also clear from the very 1st
encounters that we had when he was.
Probably still a teenager at that point
when we were red risk because he'd gone.
You know less to head it was it was
clear that his most fundamental
drive was not academic he
wanted to change the world and
he wanted to avert a nuclear war that was
that's not something that came to him
later that was actually even
before the academic stuff.
I'm not sure it was even
before the match but
it was certainly even before
the police I he had worked at Bob and
I are just having disagreement about this
I think he was in the summer of 1964
that he worked in McNamara's Pentagon Bob
thinks it was in 1965
will be let Wilfork out later but Bob came
away from that work in the in the Pentagon
convinced that his gifts would be best
deployed not in government but but
in the academy and he always it whatever
he would later in his career and
some of this you will know later events
like this Bob You know we spend little
time in Washington then decide that wasn't
for him that this was the I mean the act
Cademy was the right place and
that was true even that 1st encounter.
And you know how far afield from
nuclear strategy that motivation but
it's still the same motivation he wants
to make the world a safer place and
so ethnic conflict in the Balkans or
confidence building between
the Palestinians and and
Israelis are negotiations with the with
the Soviet intellectuals as the Cold War
was ending or cancer research or
most recently cyber security and
cyber warfare all of those were aimed at
putting this incredible mind to work on
a very specific sounds like it's not right
to say it's very specific but it's very
clear topic can we make the world safer.
And some of the most enjoyable hours
I've ever spent in my life have been in
conversation with Bob about those real
world problems I was sort of serving as
a sounding board and sometimes
a sparring partner as he would try try
new theoretical perspective only once
have actually I had the pleasure of
accompanying pop into the field on
those policy journeys of his I'm not
sure Bob will remember this but
that lead unexpectedly in the last years
of the Soviet Union I'm
compressing a much longer story.
To an unforgettable long sudden
late evening sauna in a k.g.b.
Manor in the Estonian countryside
with a group of completely drunk
Soviet defense intellectuals'.
Bubble do nothing subs and
nothing to make this world a safer place.
I had some more things here about you know
the most cited work of social
science in the last half century in.
The the Wall Street Journal saying
our ideas of cooperation will
never be the same and.
I do want to save just one thing about
evolution of cooperation among the reasons
for the extraordinary impact of this book
is that it combines this deeply rigorous
logical and mathematical Imperial analysis
with exceptionally accessible prose
who will ever forget the chapter on
the Christmas truce in World War One And
if you don't know what I'm talking about
it's because you have not read Bob's book.
He's I mean I'm skipping over these raft
of things he's done that the youngest
political scientist and maybe the end of
social zone is the National Academy of
Sciences MacArthur Fellow The National
Academy of Sciences award for behavioral
research the Newcomb the Cleveland prize
that was mentioned present a p.s.r.
the young one I'm going to pronounce this
correctly you know one shipped a prize
most people don't pronounce it correctly
but that's that's what it's called for
the that's our disciplines closest
equivalent to the Nobel Prize and
of course the National Medal Medal of
Science I could go on of course but
it be simpler just to name.
The major awards for
scholarly excellence that Bob has not won.
I just did.
What's truly amazing about his career.
From the perspective of someone has been
hanging around him like good fortune.
Since that big career began 55 years ago
is that instead of resting on his laurels
which any sane person would have done he's
continued to stay at least a decade ahead
of the mainstream work in conflict
resolution in governance in the use of
technology and teaching in cyber warfare
and computer based and lit it models and
so on he's left an enormous legacy as
it was said by other people here so
I'm going to not say it here but
you can but
it's certainly true the role he's
played as a mentor here and elsewhere.
Is pretty extraordinary but I thought I
would just want to close close because I
thought you might like to hear I happen
to know this what the world's undisputed
arbiter of academic
excellence that is Harvard.
What Harvard thinks of Bob.
I had the immense pleasure of witnessing
close up really close up the ceremony
which Bob Harvard awarded Harvard awarded
Bob an honorary degree 4 years ago and
one useful way to summarize what
the rest of the world thinks of Bob
is to repeat verbatim what was said about
him at that ceremony I did not take
notes at the time but I've gone back and
listen to the whole so I'm going to I'm
going to impersonate the Harvard Provost
what leads us to cooperate the provost
began and illustrious political
scientists Robert Axelrod has shaped our
understanding of what induces us to come
together rather than go our separate ways
you have to imagine there are thousands
of people in Harvard Yard across the world
listening to a list saying this.
His publications on the evolution and
complexity of cooperation stand among
the world's most frequently cited
writings in the social sciences and
he has brought his theoretical
insights to bear on a sweeping
range of problems
the avoidance of nuclear war.
The nature of biological evolution
international trade cyber security
cooperation among cancer cells his
methods draw on complexity theory and
game theory and computer modeling
the Provost said in ways that have
continually reach reshape the frontiers
of our fee of these fields
in an extraordinarily rare tribute for
social scientists he was awarded
the National Medal of Science as a pair
of colleagues recently wrote it is hard
to name an active This is the provost
now quoting several an unnamed
people name it to name an active political
scientist anywhere in the world whose
ideas have had such a powerful effect on
such a wide range of human inquiry and
action it's not only academics
who have filled his touch
the provost continued When
bottom was asked the secret
of you to lose longevity as
a rock band he reportedly
named Professor Axelrod seminal book on
evolution on the evolution of cooperation.
I'm continuing to quote here We
probably recognize a rock star of
social science the world when Professor
for the study of human understanding
the University of Michigan Robert Axelrod
I don't have a class but I ask you to join
me in a celebratory toast to
Bob Axelrod rock star rock on Bob.
You know it is.
Now most of you have
never seen me in a suit.
And here I am.
And I suppose most of you
have never seen me blushing.
But that's what I'm doing when I
really want to say is thank you
and last week I started to make a list
of all the things I should thank you for
as individuals as friends colleagues
relatives and his representatives
the university the Department of
Political Science the Ford school and
about the list I realized that if I read
it today we'd be here till Monday morning
so instead I'll just give you
a couple of bullet points but
1st to stick with the classiness
of the events of the wine and
the music I let me quote
Cicero he said that gratitude
is not only the greatest of all virtues
it's the parent of all the others
I feel that I've been remiss in not
expressing often enough or fully enough
the gratitude I feel and today it's
been brought home to me once more in so
many ways from what you've just heard
let me start with the gratitude
I feel toward Michigan for having hired
me when Berkeley turned me down for
tenure it was a difficult moment
to say the least people here
could have said Well Berkeley
knew Bob better than they did and
if they didn't think he was worthy
of tenure then why should Michigan
make a lifelong commitment but
Michigan did and I'm always grateful
for school and put a science department
been my home since I arrived 45 years ago.
And I'm grateful for the many ways
they've supported me Nancy Burns and
Michael Barr following a long
line of previous chairs and
deans all of whom did so
much to empower my work
through the generosity of the resources
they provided and by letting me teach
pretty much whatever I want even when
the supports are subject like sensemaking
appreciate to that never pressured
me to be a candidate for Dean r.
or department chair maybe you know
that I just wasn't cut out for it.
After all I am better that
candor than attacked.
And so I'm grateful for those of you who
did step up to the plate and work so
hard to hire great colleagues and
to make life as easy as possible for
all the rest of us I'm grateful for
being at the university which is arguably
the best collection of social science
departments and related professional
schools of any place in the world I
certainly take advantage of lots of them.
Is where people really walk the walk
of interdisciplinary the Institute for
Social Research is set
the gold standard for
the social sciences and for
me the interdisciplinary back group
that you heard about has been central.
I was going to say a little about it but
you've already heard about it so
I don't have to repeat that.
But it was that for 30 years
included beloved Michael Cohen and
Scott Page and
Karl Simon that you heard from today.
Now as you know I'm best known for my
book on the evolution of cooperation and
I just want to express my gratitude to
Amy who among so many other things played
a major role in Maine making that book
as accessible and even if I dare say so
as long as inviting to read as it is now
here's the thing I'm not really retiring.
Yeah I'm no longer teaching and you can
use my salary to hire other people.
But I do intend to continue my
research and public engagement.
For example I'm working to confront
Russia's hostile influence campaigns and
you heard I'm working with the Chinese
to see if we can get along with them
especially in the area of
potential cyber conflict
I'm going to lead climate change and
racial and gender prejudice to others.
But I reserve the right to take up other
challenges that I might be able to
Meanwhile thanks for being there for me.