Ted Harris (mathematician)

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Ted Harris
Born(1919-01-11)January 11, 1919
DiedNovember 3, 2005(2005-11-03) (aged 86)[2]
Alma materPrinceton University
Known forHarris chain
Scientific career
InstitutionsRAND Corporation
University of Southern California
Thesis Some Theorems on the Bernoullian Multiplicative Process[1]  (1947)
Doctoral advisorSamuel S. Wilks

Theodore Edward Harris (11 January 1919 – 3 November 2005) was an American mathematician known for his research on stochastic processes, including such areas as general state-space Markov chains (often now called Harris chains), the theory of branching processes and stochastic models of interacting particle systems such as the contact process. The Harris inequality in statistical physics and percolation theory is named after him.

He received his Ph.D. at Princeton University in 1947 under advisor Samuel Wilks. From 1947 until 1966 he worked for the RAND Corporation, heading their mathematics department from 1959 to 1965. From 1966 until retirement in 1989 he was Professor of Mathematics and Electrical Engineering at University of Southern California.

He was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1988.[3]

Selected publications[edit]


  • Harris, Theodore E. "The theory of branching processes". Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (1963) 230 pp.


  • Harris, Theodore; Arrow, Kenneth J.; Marschak, Jacob (July 1951). "Optimal inventory policy". Econometrica. 19 (3): 250–272. doi:10.2307/1906813. JSTOR 1906813.
  • Harris, T.E. (December 1974). "Contact interactions on a lattice". The Annals of Probability. 2 (6): 969–988. doi:10.1214/aop/1176996493. JSTOR 2959099.


  1. ^ Ted Harris at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ Alexander, K. S. (1996). "A conversation with Ted Harris". Statistical Science. 11 (2): 150–158. doi:10.1214/ss/1038425658.
  3. ^ "College Magazine Obituaries: Theodore E. Harris". USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on December 4, 2006. Retrieved 19 December 2012.