*NY Times*and

*Washington Post*obituaries tell of his many contributions. Blackwell's career connects to poetry through his interest in the Theory of Games. He was co-author with Meyer Girshick of Theory of Games and Statistical Decisions, 1954, one of the early treatises on game theory.

A recent witty and lucid introduction to game theory is offered by Alexander Mehlmann in

*The Game's Afoot! Game Theory in Myth and Paradox*(volume 5 of the AMS Student Mathematical Library and translated by David Kramer). Mehlmann, a professor at Vienna University of Technology, is also a poet and translator--and*The Game's Afoo*t is peppered with literary epigraphs which include the following: From time to time we take our pen in hand

And scribble symbols on a blank white sheet.

Their meaning is at everyone's command.

It is a game whose rules are nice and neat.

This quatrain is from Herman Hesse's

*The Glass Bead Game*(translation by Richard and Clara Winston); Hesse's novel was published in 1943 -- almost coincident with the 1944 publication by John Von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern of Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, a volume that marked, for all practical purposes, the birth of game theory.*Sylvie and Bruno*.

He thought he saw an Argument

That proved he was the Pope:

He looked again, and found it was

A Bar of Mottled Soap.

"A fact so dread," he faintly said,

"Extinguishes all hope."

Mehlmann concludes

*The Game's Afoot!*with his own lightly mocking "Postlude in Rhyme" called "The Mad Reviewer's Song" which follows the style of Carroll; here are two of his stanzas: He thought he saw a Strategy

Undominated, Strict:

He looked again, and found it was

Quite Easy to Depict.

"I'll never play a game," he said,

"So simple to predict!"

He thought he saw a Nash Profile

Remaining unrefined:

He looked again, and found it was

Induction from Behind.

"Before more doubts arise," he said,

"Apply it! Never mind!"**Long live the theory of games!!**

In the MAA death notices (http://www.maa.org/news/inmemoriam.html) I found information about the passing (in June) of another game theorist--William F Lucas, who specialized in fair-division and voting systems.

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