Jones Seminar: A “Unified Field Theory” for Cross-National Mortality Risk

Arnold Barnett, Professor of Management Science and Professor of Statistics, MIT Sloan School of Management

Friday, November 11, 2016, 3:30–4:30pm

Spanos Auditorium, Cummings Hall

Late in life, Albert Einstein was frustrated that he could not develop a unified field theory in which gravitation and electromagnetism were but special cases. Here we consider whether such a theory fits death-risk data from 84 countries that together contain 7/8 of the world’s population. More specifically, we explore whether countries that excel on some dimensions of personal safety tend to excel on all of them. We further consider whether wealthier countries are really the safest.

About the Speaker

Arnold Barnett is George Eastman Professor of Management Science and Professor of Statistics at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He holds a BA in physics from Columbia University and a PhD in mathematics from MIT. Dr. Barnett’s research specialty is applied statistical analysis generally focused on problems of health and safety. Aviation safety is among his primary areas of application: he has received the President’s Citation from the Flight Safety Foundation for “truly outstanding contributions on behalf of safety.”  

He has also worked with crime data, and his analysis of homicide risk was presented to President Ford at the White House. He has received the President’s Award for “outstanding contributions to the betterment of society” from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), and the Blackett Lectureship from the Operational Research Society of the UK.A popular instructor, he has been honored 15 times for outstanding teaching at MIT.

For more information, contact Jessica Widdicombe at