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Remembering the Dantzig Century and a Conversation with His Daughter

by Anna Nagurney on November 11th, 2014

What a thrill it was to listen to Professor Richard “Dick” Cottle of Stanford deliver his plenary talk “Remembering the Dantzig Century” to a standing room only overflow crowd. In a voice that was clear, steady, and filled with clear great respect for his adviser and mentor, Professor Cottle took us on a journey of Dantzig’s life and contributions to our field. Through a historical timeline of milestones and achievements illustrated with photos we all felt as though George was back with us and truly he has never left us.

From the fact as to how he received his PhD with Neyman as his supervisor, which I relate to every OR/MS class that I teach, to his work at the Pentagon and Rand, to is work at Berkeley and Stanford we were mesmerized. Dantzig emphasized the following order: a real-world problem, then the mathematical modeling, and then the theory and algorithms.

A lady came during the talk and stood next to me and there was a spirit about her that I immediately noticed. When Cottle showed a photo of Dantzig’s office after the earthquake in Loma Linda, she proceeded to fill me in on more facts, such as that George had been working in his office when it struck. I left the plenary realizing that I wanted to have a conversation with this interesting female.

And, as for serendipity, which was the theme of my previous blogpost, it happened again! I┬áspoke with the INFORMS Executive Director Melissa Moore about what a great plenary it had been and what great memories I had of George from so many conferences at which I enjoyed his kindness and warmth, including the first conference I ever spoke at as a fresh PhD at which he came to my presentation (such a memory one never forgets). She presented me with a request and an offer to meet with Dantzig’s daughter, which, of course, I accepted.

When his daughter walked in to our meeting area yesterday afternoon, it was precisely the lady that stood next to me during Cottle’s plenary! We had a conversation for almost an hour (I had to chair a session but could have continued to talk for days). I now have the business card of Dantzig’s daughter, Jessica Dantzig Klass, through which his generosity, energy, and wisdom live on!

  1. Richard Cottle permalink

    Nice write-up.

    One correction: The name of the earthquake in 1989 is Loma Prieta, not Loma Linda.

  2. Thanks, again, for such a terrific plenary – one of the true highlights of this conference. Thanks, also, for the correction!

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