Research

Golden Goose Award

The late David Gale, professor of mathematics from 1950 to 1965, will be honored in Washington D.C. with a Golden Goose Award for work that led to a national kidney exchange and other programs. The Golden Goose Award recognizes basic research that leads to unexpected and tangible benefits. Gale worked with mathematician Lloyd Shapley to develop an algorithm for how a large group of men in women could be paired to maximize marriage stability in the group. Economist Alvin Roth later applied the algorithm to several more practical applications, including school choice systems for New York, Boston, and other cities. Eventually, the algorithm became the basis for a nationwide system of matching donors to those in need of kidney transplants—a program that has saved thousands of lives. Shapley and Roth received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2012 for their work. Gale had died and was ineligible for the Nobel. All three will be honored at a Golden Goose Award event to be held Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, in Washington D.C.