Daniel Kahneman, former Berkeley prof, awarded Medal of Freedom

Daniel Kahneman, who earned his Ph.D. in psychology at UC Berkeley in 1961 and served on the faculty from 1986 to 1993, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Friday in a White House ceremony led by President Barack Obama. Kahneman, professor emeritus of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, was one of 16 individuals to receive the medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

The award, said Obama, “goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours.This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world.”

The White House noted that Kahneman left Nazi-occupied France during World War II for Israel, where he served in the military and trained as a psychologist. “Alongside Amos Tversky,” said its official release, “he applied cognitive psychology to economic analysis, laying the foundation for a new field of research and earning the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002.”

Other recipients of the medal this year include Bill Clinton, Ben Bradlee, Loretta Lynn, Ernie Banks, Gloria Steinem and Oprah Winfrey. Awards were given posthumously to Bayard Rustin, Daniel Inouye and Sally Ride.