Flood, Merrill M. (Merrill Meeks), 1908-1991

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Mathematician.

From the description of Oral history interview with Merrill Flood, 1984 May 14. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 63309528

Merrill Flood was a researcher and consultant in the areas of applied mathematics, defense technology and organizational theory.

After earning his Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University, Flood began consulting for local and state governments in New Jersey. From 1942 to 1949, he advised the federal government on the design of aerial surveillance and mapping instruments. He was a Project Officer for Logistics at the RAND Corporation from 1949 to 1952 where he studied game theory.

In 1956, Flood accepted an appointment as head of Willow Run Laboratories at the University of Michigan, where he continued to research defense technology and combat surveillance until 1959. From 1959 to 1967, Flood was the senior research mathematician at the University of Michigan's Mental Health Research Institute. In this appointment, he studied learning models, adaptive systems, decision-making models, and information storage and retrieval systems.

In 1974, Flood returned to the university as director of the Faculty Research Program on University Governance, where he continued his research on organizational theory and decision-making.

From the description of Merrill M. Flood papers, 1930-1991 (bulk 1943-1990). (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 80453865

Merrill M. Flood devoted his career to researching applied mathematics and organizational theory. He advised a wide variety of public and private organizations on how to apply mathematical principles to practical situations and social interactions. Flood was born in Seward, Nebraska on November 28, 1908. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska in 1933, and a master's degree in mathematics from the same institution in 1930. In 1935, Flood earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University.

At Princeton, Flood began his career as a consultant and researcher, advising state and local government organizations in New Jersey and elsewhere. From 1942 to 1949, Flood owned and operated a consulting firm, advising government agencies on national defense technology, primarily aerial surveillance and mapping instruments. From 1949 to 1952, Flood worked as a Project Officer for Logistics at the RAND Corporation. At RAND, Flood worked under his former teacher, John von Neumann, conducting pioneering research into game theory, which strongly influenced the government's nuclear strategy during the Cold War.

In 1953, Flood returned to academia as director of the Institute for Research in the Management of Industrial Production at Columbia University. In 1956, Flood accepted his first appointment at the University of Michigan, as head of Willow Run Laboratories (predecessor of the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan). During his three-year tenure at Willow Run, Flood continued his research into combat surveillance systems as supervisor of Project Michigan. Flood also accepted other university appointments: professor of Industrial Engineering in 1956, senior research mathematician at the Mental Health Research Institute in 1959, and professor of mathematical biology in the Department of Psychiatry, also in 1959. From 1959 until his retirement from the university in 1967, he researched learning models, adaptive systems, and information storage and retrieval networks. After several years of consulting for business and government organizations, Flood returned to Ann Arbor in 1974 for a three-year appointment as a professor of education and director of the Faculty Research Program on University Governance, where he continued his investigation of decision-making and organization theory. After his appointment as professor emeritus in 1977, Flood continued his research at Stanford University, the University of Louisville, and, finally, the University of California at San Diego. Flood died in La Jolla, California on March 24, 1991.

From the guide to the Merrill M. Flood Papers, 1930-1991, 1943-1990, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn William J. Horvath papers, 1940-1985, 1945-1979 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Flood, Merrill,. Oral history interview with Merrill Flood, 1984 May 14. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf Merrill M. Flood Papers, 1930-1991, 1943-1990 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn News and Information Services (University of Michigan) Faculty and Staff Files, 1944-2005, 1960-1995 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Horvath, William J., 1917-. William J. Horvath papers, 1948-1979. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Claude Elwood Shannon Papers, 1932-1995, (bulk 1938-1989) Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
referencedIn John W. Tukey Papers, 1937-2000 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Shannon, Claude Elwood, 1916-2001. Claude Elwood Shannon papers, 1932-1995 (bulk 1938-1989). Library of Congress
creatorOf Flood, Merrill M. (Merrill Meeks), 1908-1991. Merrill M. Flood papers, 1930-1991 (bulk 1943-1990). University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Papers, 1916-1972 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn News and Information Services (University of Michigan) photograph series D (faculty and staff portraits), 1946-2006, 1950-1990 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Floor, Merrill Meeks, 1908- person
associatedWith Glueck, Sheldon, 1896- person
associatedWith Horvath, William J., 1917- person
associatedWith Institute for Management Sciences corporateBody
correspondedWith Leon, Alberto person
correspondedWith Mendel, Clifford person
associatedWith National Defense Research Committee corporateBody
associatedWith Princeton University corporateBody
associatedWith Princeton University. Dept. of Mathematics corporateBody
associatedWith Rand Corporation. corporateBody
correspondedWith Shannon, Claude Elwood, 1916-2001. person
associatedWith Tucker, Albert W. (Albert William), 1905-1995, person
associatedWith Tukey, John Wilder, 1915- person
associatedWith University of Michigan corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Faculty Research Program on University Governance. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Mental Health Research Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. News and Information Services. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Game theory
Aerial observation (Military science)
Organization--Research
Aerial photogrammetry
Operations research
Mathematicians
Group decision making
Decision-making, Group
Mathematics
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1908-11-28

Death 1991

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