Steven Vajda - Companion of Operational Research

On 10 February 1995 a meeting was held in London as a tribute to Steven Vajda. At a dinner held after the meeting, the Operational Research Society made Vajda a Companion of Operational Research. The citation for the award read as follows:


From his time as Head of the Mathematics Section of the Admiralty in 1946 to his current post as a Visiting Professor at the University of Sussex, Steven Vajda has spent nearly 50 years consciously or unconsciously motivating the careers of hundreds of Operational Research workers. He has exerted this influence directly by teaching and by his papers at conferences, indirectly by his books and articles and by the example of his life. A prime example in the category of distinguished Operational Research scientists whose work has been molded by Steven Vajda is the late Martin Beale, who attested during his life to the inspiration which Steven had given him and in whose place Steven delivered his EURO Gold Medal Address at the EURO DC Conference.

Steven Vadja's book, Mathematical Programming (Addison Wesley, 1961) had a major influence in the United Kingdom, and also on the formation of the Operational Research division of the Danish Institute of Computing Machinery. That book was a key reference work since it not only introduced the families of optimization problems and the algorithms for their solution, but also set out the scope and limitations of mathematical programming as normative models for managerial decisions.

An earlier book (Theory of Games and Linear Programming, Methuen, 1956) was the first book on linear programming to be published outside the USA and it is therefore Steven Vajda who can rightly claim thereby to have introduced the subject to both Europe and Asia. The book was also translated into German, French and Japanese.

The total number of his books stands at 14 and he is still writing - a joint paper on Visualizing Duality is the latest - all this in just 30 years since he became the Professor of Operational Research at Birmingham (the second in the UK) at the age of 64. His third career at Sussex had involved his holding a visiting Operational Research chair for 21 years - a record which is unsurpassed in the UK and probably anywhere outside the UK as well.

The Journal [of the Operational Research Society] recently published a special issue in honour of Steven Vajda's 91st birthday (Volume 43, August 1992). The editorial contains a summary of his career, and a selected list of publications.

The Operational Research Society is pleased to award Steven Vajda the Companionship of Operational Research, for his long and distinguished service to the profession.


JOC/EFR January 2013

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