On This Day … 16 March

People (Births)

  • 1937 – Amos Tversky, Israeli-American psychologist and academic (d. 1996).

People (Deaths)

  • 1841 – Félix Savart, French physicist and psychologist (d. 1791).

Amos Tversky

Amos Nathan Tversky (Hebrew: עמוס טברסקי‎; 16 March 1937 to 02 June 1996) was an Israeli cognitive and mathematical psychologist, a student of cognitive science, a collaborator of Daniel Kahneman, and a key figure in the discovery of systematic human cognitive bias and handling of risk.

Much of his early work concerned the foundations of measurement. He was co-author of a three-volume treatise, Foundations of Measurement. His early work with Kahneman focused on the psychology of prediction and probability judgment; later they worked together to develop prospect theory, which aims to explain irrational human economic choices and is considered one of the seminal works of behavioural economics. Six years after Tversky’s death, Kahneman received the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for the work he did in collaboration with Amos Tversky (The prize is not awarded posthumously). Kahneman told The New York Times in an interview soon after receiving the honour: “I feel it is a joint prize. We were twinned for more than a decade.” Tversky also collaborated with many leading researchers including Thomas Gilovich, Itamar Simonson, Paul Slovic and Richard Thaler. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Tversky as the 93rd most cited psychologist of the 20th century, tied with Edwin Boring, John Dewey, and Wilhelm Wundt.

Felix Savart

Félix Savart (30 June 1791 to 16 March 1841) was a physicist and mathematician who is primarily known for the Biot–Savart law of electromagnetism, which he discovered together with his colleague Jean-Baptiste Biot. His main interest was in acoustics and the study of vibrating bodies. A particular interest in the violin led him to create an experimental trapezoidal model. He gave his name to the savart, a unit of measurement for musical intervals, and to Savart’s wheel – a device he used while investigating the range of human hearing.

Biography

He was the son of Gérard Savart, an engineer at the military school of Metz. His brother, Nicolas, who was a student at the École Polytechnique and an officer in the engineering corps, did work on vibration. At the military hospital at Metz, Savart studied medicine and later he went on to continue his studies at the University of Strasbourg, where he received his medical degree in 1816. Savart became a professor at Collège de France in 1820 and was the co-originator of the Biot–Savart law, along with Jean-Baptiste Biot. Together, they worked on the theory of magnetism and electrical currents. Their law was developed and published in 1820. The Biot–Savart law relates magnetic fields to the currents which are their sources.

Savart also studied acoustics. He developed the Savart wheel which produces sound at specific graduated frequencies using rotating disks.

Félix Savart is the namesake of a unit of measurement for musical intervals, the savart, though it was actually invented by Joseph Sauveur (Stigler’s law of eponymy).

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