Alfred J. Lotka
Alfred J. Lotka  

Born 
Lviv 
2 March 1880
Died 
5 December 1949 New York 
(aged 69)
Nationality  American 
Fields  Mathematics 
Known for  The Lotka–Volterra equations 
Alfred James Lotka (March 2, 1880 – December 5, 1949) was a US mathematician, physical chemist, and statistician, famous for his work in population dynamics and energetics. An American biophysicist best known for his proposal of the predatorprey model, developed simultaneously but independently of Vito Volterra. The LotkaVolterra model is still the basis of many models used in the analysis of population dynamics in ecology.
Contents
 Life 1

Work 2
 Elements of physical biology 2.1
 Energetics of evolution 2.2
 Demography and public health 2.3
 Bibliometrics 2.4
 See also 3
 Publications 4
 References 5
 External links 6
Life
Lotka was born in Lwów, AustriaHungary, formerly part of Poland. His parents, Jacques and Marie (Doebely) Lotka, were US nationals^{[1]} and he was educated internationally. He received a B. Sc. in 1901 at the University of Birmingham, England, he did graduate work 190102 at Leipzig University, he received an M.A. in 1909 at Cornell University and an D. Sc. at Birmingham University after his work there from 1909 to 1912.
 Occupations
 Assistant chemist for General Chemical Company (1902–1908, 1914–1919)
 Patent examiner for US Patent Office (1909)
 Assistant physicist for National Bureau of Standards (1909–1911)
 Editor of the Scientific American Supplement (1911–1914)
 Staff member at Johns Hopkins University (1922–1924)
 Statistician for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York (1924 until his retirement in 1947)
In 1935, he married Romola Beattie. They had no children.
 Honors
 President of the Population Association of America (1938–1939)
 President of the American Statistical Association (1942)
 Vice president of the Union for the Scientific Investigation of Population Problems
 Chairman of the United States National Committee of the Union
 Fellow of American Public Health Association
 Fellow of Institute of Mathematical Statistics
He died in New York.
Work
Although he is today known mainly for the Lotka–Volterra equations used in ecology, Lotka was a biomathematician and a biostatistician, who sought to apply the principles of the physical sciences to biological sciences as well. His main interest was demography, which possibly influenced his professional choice as a statistician at Metropolitan Life Insurance.
One of Lotka's earliest publications, in 1912, proposed a solution to Ronald Ross's second malaria model. In 1923, he published a thorough fivepart analysis and extension of both Ross's malaria models. The fourth part in the series, coauthored by F.R. Sharpe, modeled the time lag for pathogen incubation. Lotka published Elements of Physical Biology in 1925, the first book on energy at a rate and efficiency more effective than that of its competitors. Lotka extended his energetic framework to human society. In particular, he suggested that the shift in reliance from solar energy to nonrenewable energy would pose unique and fundamental challenges to society. These theories made Lotka an important forerunner to the development of biophysical economics and ecological economics, advanced by Frederick Soddy, Howard Odum and others^{[2]}
Elements of physical biology
While at Johns Hopkins, Lotka completed his book Elements of Physical Biology (1925) in which he extended the work of Lotka–Volterra equation of population dynamics.
Energetics of evolution
His earlier work was centered on energetics and applications of thermodynamics in life sciences.
Lotka proposed the theory that the Darwinian concept of natural selection could be quantified as a physical law. The law that he proposed was that the selective principle of evolution was one which favoured the maximum useful energy flow transformation. The general systems ecologist Howard T. Odum later applied Lotka's proposal as a central guiding feature of his work in ecosystems ecology. Odum called Lotka's law the maximum power principle.
Demography and public health
Lotka's work in mathematical demography began in 1907 with the publication of papers in Science (journal) and American Journal of Science. He published several dozen papers on the subject over more than two decades, culminating Théorie Analytique des Associations Biologiques (Analytical Theory of Biological Associations). Part 1, Principes, 45 pages, was published in 1934, Part 2, Analyse demographique avec application particuliere a l'espece humaine, 149 pages, in 1939, both by Hermann & Cie, Paris.
Bibliometrics
Within the field of bibliometrics, particularly that part devoted to studying scientific publications, Lotka is noted for contributing "Lotka's law." The law which Lotka discovered relates to the productivity of scientists. As noted by W.G. Poitier in 1981: "The Lotka distribution is based on an inverse square law where the number of authors writing n papers is l/n2 of the number of authors writing one paper. Each subject area can have associated with it an exponent representing its specific rate of author productivity." Lotka's work sparked additional inquiries, eventually seminally contributing to the field of scientometrics—the scientific study of scientific publications.
He teamed up with Louis Israel Dublin, another statistician at Metropolitan Life, to write three books on demography and public health: The Money Value of a Man (1930), Length of Life (1936), Twentyfive Years of Health Progress (1937).
See also
 Lotka–Volterra equations (for predation)
 Lotka–Volterra interspecific competition equations
 Lotka's law (a special case of Zipf's law)
 Energy accounting
 Biophysical economics
 Bioeconomics
 Energy economics
Publications
 A.J.Lotka (1925) 'Elements of Physical Biology' [PDF] reprinted by Dover in 1956 as Elements of Mathematical Biology.
 Lotka, A.J. (1939) Théorie Analytique des Associations Biologiques translated in 1998 as Analytical Theory of Biological Populations. New York: Plenum Press.
 Lotka, A.J. (1989). Lotka on population study, ecology, and evolution. Population and Development Review, 15(3), 539–550.
 Lotka, A.J. (1998). Analytical theory of biological populations. New York: Plenum Press
 Articles, a selection^{[3]}
 Lotka, A.J. (1907). Relation between birth rates and death rates. Science, 26: 121–130.
 Sharpe, F.R. & Lotka, A.J. (1911). A problem in age distribution. Philosophical Magazine, 21: 435–438.
 A.J. Lotka (1912) Quantitative studies in epidemiology. Nature, 88: 497498.
 Lotka, A.J. (1919). A contribution to quantitive epidemiology. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, 9: p. 73.
 A.J.Lotka (1922a) 'Contribution to the energetics of evolution' [PDF]. Proc Natl Acad Sci, 8: pp. 147–51.
 A.J.Lotka (1922b) 'Natural selection as a physical principle' [PDF]. Proc Natl Acad Sci, 8, pp 151–54.
 A.J. Lotka (1923) Contribution to the analysis of malaria epidemiology. ``The American Journal of Hygiene, 3: 1121.
 Loth, A.J. (1926) “The Frequency Distribution of Scientific Productivity.” Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 16(1926):31723.
 About Lotka
 Haaga, J. (2000). Alfred Lotka, mathematical demographer. Population Today, 28(2), 3.
 Kingsland, S.E. (1985). Modeling nature: episodes in the history of population ecology. Chigago: University of Chicago.
References
 ^ http://www.novelguide.com/a/discover/epop_02/epop_02_00222.html
 ^ Cleveland, Cutler (Lead Author); Peter Saundry (Topic Editor). 2008. "Lotka, Alfred James." In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). First published in the Encyclopedia of Earth September 15, 2006; Last revised December 1, 2008; Retrieved August 3, 2009. [1]
 ^ The Dover volume contains a list of Lotka's technical papers.
 Jacques Véron. 2008. Alfred J. Lotka and the Mathematics of Population Electronic Journal for History of Probability and Statistics, Vol 4, No 1, June.
External links
 Alfred J. Lotka Papers at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University
 Jacques Veron Alfred J.Lotka and the Mathematics of Population in Electronic Journal for History of Probability and Statistics June 2008.
 American statisticians
 Presidents of the American Statistical Association
 Fellows of the American Statistical Association
 Polish people of American descent
 American emigrants to Austria
 People from Lviv
 1880 births
 1949 deaths
 American physical chemists
 American biophysicists
 Cornell University alumni