Who is Sir W. Arthur Lewis? Google Doodle Honors Pioneering Economist

Sir. W. Arthur Lewis, economist, professor, and author, is celebrated in today's Google Doodle. Today is the anniversary of the day Sir. W. Arthur Lewis was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize for his work on modeling the economic forces that affect developing countries.

The Google Doodle sees Lewis standing in front of a blackboard which features a graph mixed with the word "Google."

William Arthur Lewis was born in Castries, on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, on January 23, 1915. His parents were both school teachers who emigrated from Antigua around 12 years previously. At the time Lewis was born, St. Lucia was a British colony and Lewis faced racial discrimination.

However, Lewis accelerated through his education, leaving school at 14. He then won a government scholarship to study at the London School of Economics in 1932. There, he earned a doctorate in industrial economics. By the age of 33, Lewis was a full professor, which is one of the highest distinctions of a tenured professor.

Lewis was the first Black faculty member at the London School of Economics. He was also the first Black person to hold a chair in a British University. Additionally, he the first Black instructor to receive a full scholarship at Princeton University.

Sir W Arthur Lewis
Google Doodle celebrates Sir W Arthur Lewis on the anniversary of the day he was jointly awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. Google Doodle

Lewis moved his focus to world economic history and economic development, publishing his foundational article "Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour," in 1954.

He is remembered as a pioneer of modern development economics and for being jointly awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics on this day in 1979.

Lewis' accomplishments include contributing influential work to the United Nations and advising governments in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Additionally, Lewis helped establish the Caribbean Developmental bank, of which he served as the first president.

Lewis said that these experiences "broadened [his] understanding of development problems, without doing much to deepen it in the scholarly sense."

Lewis married a woman named Gladys, whose parents had known his parents all their lives. Gladys moved to England in 1937 and trained as a teacher. They married in 1947 and had two daughters, Elizabeth and Barbara.

Of his family, Lewis wrote in Les Prix Nobel: "My travels have meant much separation, but mutual love has supported the family in all its endeavors."

Sir. W. Arthur Lewis was knighted by the British government in 1963 in honor of his lifelong achievements. He died on June 15, 1991, in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The Google Doodle honoring Lewis was created by artist Camilla Ru, who told Google why this topic was meaningful to her: "Arthur Lewis was an inspiring historical figure.

"I think his vast influence on the development of so many countries' economies was most inspiring to me, especially his willingness to teach and share his knowledge for the betterment of others."

Ru said she connected with Lewis' Caribbean roots and she was inspired by how he helped the economic growth of African countries. The artist told Google: "I loved the fact that I could incorporate the vibrant colors from both cultures into the Doodle, as well as play around with mathematical elements to highlight his work as an economist and professor."

Finally, with this Google Doodle, Ru said she hopes that: "the artwork and Sir Arthur Lewis' story help people understand the importance of sharing knowledge and how this can inspire others and aid in their growth."