Tjalling Charles Koopmans (1910-1985)
In 1927 Koopmans came to Utrecht as a student of mathematics and physics. In 1933 he graduated in the field of theoretical physics but he got interested in fields of study that lay closer to reality such as psychology, psychiatry and economics. He read Marx's Das Kapital with a circle of socialist friends from Utrecht. While discussing this and other economic works he met Jan Tinbergen (Nobel Prize laureate in 1969). Koopmans agreed with Tinbergen on the possibilities of applying the mathematical methods of theoretical physics to economics. Koopmans worked on his dissertation 'Linear regression analysis of economic time-series' in Utrecht but formally received his PhD from Leiden University since his supervising professor had accepted an appointment in Leiden.
After taking his PhD Koopmans definitely gave up physics and worked in Rotterdam and Geneva. In 1940 (beginning of World War II) he was only just able to leave the country with his family. He went to the United States where he joined the Cowle Commission and became professor at Yale.
He received the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1975 for his work on the optimal use of resources.
The Utrecht School of Economics named its research institute after Koopmans.