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Carl P. Simon
Regents' Proceedings

Carl P. Simon, Ph.D., professor of mathematics and professor of complex systems in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and professor of public policy in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, retired from active faculty status on May 31, 2020.

Professor Simon received his B.S. (1966) degree from the University of Chicago and his M.S. (1967) and Ph.D. (1970) degrees from Northwestern University. He joined the University of Michigan faculty as an assistant professor in 1972, and was promoted to associate professor in 1978, and professor in 1988. From 1999-2009, he was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Complex Systems, now a thriving LSA program. From 2011-16, he was the director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

The broad range of Professor Simon’s research centered on the theory and application of dynamical systems. He published well-cited research in many different fields, including the theory of chaotic dynamical systems, economic mechanisms for price adjustment, optimal presidential term length, evolution of ecological systems and of literary genres, sex-differences in smoking initiation, a systems approach to the spread of crime, and most intensely, the spread of communicable diseases such as HIV, influenza, malaria, and gonorrhea. He and his research group were among the first to estimate the contagiousness of HIV. Their work was recognized with the 1995 Howard M. Temin Award in Epidemiology for Scientific Excellence in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS and the 2005 Kenneth Rothman Epidemiology Prize. He co-authored, with L. Blume, the popular textbook Mathematics for Economists (1994). Professor Simon mentored eight Ph.D. students and many junior faculty members. The large calculus courses he taught for the Ford School M.P.P. program for the past 30 years were famous for his enthusiastic presentations—and his algebraic aerobics. He was named the LSA Distinguished Senior Lecturer for 2007 and received the U-M Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award in 2012.

The Regents now salute this distinguished scholar by naming Carl P. Simon, professor emeritus of mathematics, professor emeritus of complex systems, and professor emeritus of public policy.