May 8, 2009

Howard Margolis, College and Harris School prof, dead at 77

Howard Margolis, a professor of social theory in the College and the Harris School of Public Policy, died April 29 at his home in Hyde Park at the age of 77.Margolis published several works on human cognitive patterns and their applications to social issues. Cognition and Extended Rational Choice, published in 2007, discussed how behavioral economics contributed to the expansion of motivations in rational choice theory beyond self-interest and intuition. “Howard was a most unique individual,” said Susan E. Mayer, Dean of the Harris School in a University press release. “His research defied categorization, crossed disciplinary boundaries, and asked new and provocative questions.” Margolis came to the U of C as a senior lecturer in 1985. Before entering academia, Margolis worked as a journalist for The Washington Post, Science, and The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists;as a consultant to the National Academy of Sciences; and as a speechwriter for the Secretary of Defense. He is survived by his wife, Joan; children Peter, Jenny and Sarah; and brother David.