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Patrick Colonel Suppes (1922 - 2014)

Thursday, February 5, 2015  
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Stephen Link (McMaster University, University of California San Diego)

Patrick Colonel Suppes, age 92, died on Thursday November 17, 2014 of natural causes in his home at Stanford, California. Pat graduated from the University of Chicago during the darkest days of WWII. Following two years of military service in the South Pacific he began graduate training at Columbia University with Ernest Nagel in 1947. His 1950 PhD thesis “The problem of action at a distance” presaged a future of stunning theoretical achievements. Sixty-four years at Stanford as a professor of Philosophy, Statistics, Education and Psychology provided ample opportunity for collaborations leading to the publication of 32 books and hundreds of technical reports and articles. His deep knowledge of the foundations for mathematical and set-theoretical thinking generated excellent advances in the foundations of physics and quantum mechanics, decision theory, foundations of probability and causality, foundations of psychology, philosophy of language, education and computers, and philosophy of science. As early as 1967 his practical application of these ideas created computer assisted instruction and introduced computers in grade schools as teaching aids. As a founder and Director of The Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences Suppes brought to Stanford outstanding scientists and graduate students who complemented his mathematical analyses of difficult issues. His awards and honors, his rank of Captain during WWII, his award of the National Medal of Science in 1990, and his generous financial contributions to Stanford University distinguish him as a man of rare talents used to clarity and formalize of the foundations of many disciplines. We can remember him as an excellent teacher, a delightfully enthusiastic professor, and a man of rare genius whose talents improved the lives of the people around him, as well as the lives of many who will follow.



The Psychonomic Society Informs Members of the Recent Passing of our Scientific Colleagues

With the advent of the Psychonomic Society’s new website, the Governing Board has decided to make a place to convey the important, but somber news of the death of members of our society and others who were intellectually close to our members.

Our intention is to publish a short obituary here of no more than 125 words that includes a link to a longer obituary that appears elsewhere. We will only publish one obituary for each scientist. If you know of the recent passing of a member, please email Lynne Reder at with that information.

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