Ralph E. Gomory

Ralph E. Gomory

Trained as a mathematician, Dr. Ralph E. Gomory first became a researcher and then an executive at IBM. Through his own research he created new areas of applied mathematics and later both participated in and oversaw the development of a broad range of critical new technologies. Many of the breakthroughs with which he was involved were fundamental to the advancement of the information revolution. He is credited with postulating Gomory's theorem. Always more than just a researcher or a manager, he was known for his insatiable curiosity about the role of technological innovation in fostering a dynamic economy.

After his immense success in the corporate world, Dr. Gomory decided to move into the philanthropic world, as head of a major science education foundation. There he has demonstrated a profound commitment to broadening our understanding of the economic importance of science and research and to enhancing the excellence of scientific education.

Ralph Gomory received his B.A. from Williams College in 1950, studied at Cambridge University, and received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University in 1954. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1954 to 1957. While serving in the U.S. Navy, shifted his focus to applied mathematics in operations research. Among his mathematical achievements were founding contributions to the field of integer programming, an active area of research to this day. He was Higgins lecturer and Assistant Professor at Princeton University, 1957-59. He joined the Research Division of IBM in 1959, launching a career that helped to establish that company as one of the major research institutions in the world. Just 11 years after coming to IBM, he was named Director of Research and immediately began leading the company in the development of some of the world's most exciting new products and technologies. He continued to play a leadership role for 20 years after being promoted to the position of Senior Vice President of Science and Technology.

Besides exhibiting an uncanny talent for hiring and developing the very best and brightest minds – IBM researchers were awarded three Nobel Prizes in physics on his watch – he was a committed scientist. He and his staff are credited with many fundamental contributions to advanced technology in such areas as the single-transistor memory cell, high-density storage devices, silicon processing methods, relational database theory, and the development of the personal computer.

In 1989, Dr. Gomory became President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a foundation with a traditional interest in science, science education and technology. There, he has contributed to programs in new areas involving economic growth and industrial competitiveness. An unassuming man, Dr. Gomory has nonetheless not shied away from embracing controversy or tackling tough issues, either in his role as foundation president or in his personal economic research. At a time when conventional wisdom dictated that embattled American companies could survive only by switching industries, moving production off-shore, or seeking protection under restrictive trade laws, Dr. Gomory exemplified a different view. He played a critical role in substantiating the value of revitalizing industrial production by increasing investment, reorganizing production, applying new technologies, and learning from the competition.

Dr. Gomory is a winner of the National Medal of Science and is one of the few individuals ever elected to the councils of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. He has helped to forge a growing collaboration between engineering and social science disciplines at universities throughout America. His vision is to create centers of excellence at schools across the country, each specializing in a different technology or industry. Dr. Gomory offers an important perspective as one of the nation's clearest and most persuasive thinkers on the economic significance of technology and its development.

Awards and Honors

* Lanchester Prize in 1963
* John von Neumann Theory Prize in 1984
* IEEE Engineering Leadership Recognition Award in 1988
* National Medal of Science awarded by the President in 1988
* Arthur M. Bueche Award of the National Academy of Engineering in 1993
* Heinz Award for Technology
* Economy and Employment in 1998
* Madison Medal award of Princeton University in 1999
* Sheffield Fellowship Award of the Yale University Faculty of Engineering in 2000
* President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 1990 and served until March 1993
* President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) from 1984 to 1992
* National Academies' Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy
* IBM Builder

Dr. Gomory has been director of a number of companies including The Washington Post Company and the Bank of New York. He is currently a director of Lexmark International, Inc., and of two small start-up companies. He was named one of America's ten best directors by Director's Alert magazine in 2000.


*Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests (Lionel Robbins Lectures) by Ralph E. Gomory, William J. Baumol

ee also

* Linear program
** Gomory's cutting-plane method
* William J. Baumol
* Lionel Robbins
* List of members of the National Academy of Sciences
* List of National Medal of Science recipients
* National Academy of Engineering
* American Philosophical Society

External links

* http://www.econ.nyu.edu/dept/vitae/baumol.htm
* http://cepa.newschool.edu/het/profiles/robbins.htm
* http://www.lse.ac.uk/resources/LSEHistory/robbins.htm
* http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/builders/builders_gomory.html
* http://www2.informs.org/Prizes/LanchesterPrize.html

* Pictures
** http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/builders/images/5406REG.jpg
** http://www.heinzawards.net/upload/gomory.gif


All text has been merged to form a single piece of text and they are from these cited sources:
* [http://www.heinzawards.net/recipients.asp?action=detail&recipientID=43 Heinz Awards]
* [http://www.nap.edu/books/0309082986/html/223.html National Academies Press]
* [http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/builders/builders_gomory.html IBM builders]
* [http://www.matsci.northwestern.edu/new.html Northwestern University]
* [http://www.sloan.org/bios/gomory.shtml Sloan Foundation web site]

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