Born: August 7, 1933; Died: June 12, 2012.
Elinor Ostrom, who has died aged 78 of pancreatic cancer, was a US political scientist who is the only woman to have been awarded a Nobel Prize in economics. She won a share of the 2009 prize for her research into how people overcome selfish interests to successfully manage natural resources.
Mrs Ostrom, who along with her husband, Vincent Ostrom, founded Indiana University's Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis in 1973, remained active in her research even after learning she had cancer late last year.
Mrs Ostrom shared the 2009 Nobel Prize for economics with Oliver Williamson from the University of California, Berkeley. Both were honoured for analysing the rules by which people exercise authority in companies and economic systems.
Mr Williamson said in a statement that Mrs Ostrom was "a great human being", an inspiring teacher and colleague and accomplished social scientist.
"She had a wonderful sense of joy about the importance of her work that she successfully communicated to others," he said.
A record five women won Nobels in 2009, but Mrs Ostrom is the only woman to have been awarded the economics prize.
She was born and raised in Los Angeles and devoted her career to studying the interaction of people and natural resources. Through her research she demonstrated how common resources – forests, fisheries, oil fields or grazing lands – can be managed successfully by the people who use them, rather than by governments or private companies.
"What we have ignored is what citizens can do and the importance of real involvement of the people involved – versus just having somebody in Washington ... make a rule," she said the day her Nobel Prize was announced.
Mrs Ostrom conducted field studies of the world's fisheries, roamed with shepherds in Swiss pastures and trudged around the Los Angeles water basin to distil the essentials of harnessing co-operation to overcome selfish interests.
She was born Elinor Awan. School officials said she often spoke about what it was like to be a child of the Great Depression, helping her family grow food in a large garden and knitting scarves for soldiers during the Second World War.
She studied at UCLA, graduated in three years and then worked in the private sector before entering graduate school and receiving master's and doctoral degrees in political science from UCLA.
Mrs Ostrom said some people had discouraged her from seeking a doctoral degree when she applied for graduate school, but that she loved studying economics.
Mrs Ostrom and her husband moved to Indiana in 1965 when he got a job in the political science department.
She is survived by her husband. Her last article, Green from the Grassroots, was published on the day of her death.
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.