The Kapali Carsi

Games 2012 and Murat Sertel

Here’s guest blogger Ali G. (not the rapper, yeah yeah, I have to make this joke every time) again, in a complement to my latest post:

As you may know, Bilgi University hosted the 4th World Congress of the Game Theory Society (Games 2012) this year. It is a huge event. It is pretty much the game theory equivalent of an all-star match with Nobel laureates and all. There was some media coverage and Emre Deliveli also has a piece related to game theory in his HDN column. I am not aware if anyone mentioned this and I was not able to attend the conference (I doubt I could have understood anything anyway!), but I would like to take this opportunity to honor someone whom I’ve never had the chance to meet: Professor Murat Sertel.

Although it looks cute to the public eye, as I learned during my first job interviews, not a lot people in Turkey outside of academia care for the field of game theory (Some of the reasons are stated in one of my previous posts).  Therefore, apart from the people who are in the field and people who have had the pleasure of taking one of his courses, I am afraid only a handful of people know who Murat Sertel is.

I got my master’s degree from a Turkish institution that had a micro and game theory oriented econ department. During my studies, I came to realize that there was an imbalanced number of top-notch Turkish game & micro theorists (including my own professors) compared to other larger fields of economics. Then, I figured Professor Sertel was probably the most important reason, as almost every one of those names had some connection with him.

Creating that environment is a remarkable achievement, as he had to first prove himself to the world as a scientist, then build a network of colleagues and stick around in Turkey long enough to train the younger generation and support the institutions. Although I did not have the honor of meeting him, I can only imagine what a complete scientist and human being he was to have achieved all of these.

Maybe that’s what makes him extra special. He gave a lot back (where it counts) to his country, without asking for much in return. Having witnessed what he has accomplished for the field of economics and scientific research in Turkey and how his students and colleagues continue to honor his name with pride and enthusiasm, I can confidently say that his efforts have paid off.

I don’t know why, but the first thing that came to my mind was Murat Sertel’s name when I heard about the conference. That’s all I what wanted to share.

Ali Gökhan is the acting economist at a Turkish conglomerate. The views expressed here are his personal views only and do not represent the views of his company.

Not much from me this time around. Since I did all my post-high school studies in the U.S., I never got to know Murat Sertel, although I had of course heard of him and met many of his students. BTW, Bilgi University, where the conference was hosted, has honored Murat Sertel by naming their Advanced Economic Studies Center after him. So he may be known for more than a handful of people:) But Ali is right that he was not a celebrity economist known to the masses at all.

Speaking of the conference, my beloved Hurriyet Daily News ran a two-page special on the conference on Thursday. All articles in those two pages are under one roof in the paper’s web site.  No one told me about this, so I did not plan my column thinking about the special- I had written it several days before the conference anyway. And I don’t think they got inspired by my column either, as they probably started preparing for coverage of the event several days before the conference as well. And I think it turned out to be rather good. All the other Turkish papers, even the econ-oriented Dunya and our sister daily Radikal, devoted a few paragraphs at most to the event, so my paper made me really proud…

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