Testimony by Michel Lubrano



CNRS, AMSE Aix-Marseille

Some people have a tremendous influence on the course of our life. Jacques was one of them. When I arrived at Core at the end of the seventies, I was a very young student ignorant of many things. I had been recruited on a research contract for which Jacques was involved in. Of course, my first question was to know who was this professor I had so often heard about. A few days after my arrival, there was a knock on my door, Jacques entered and introduced himself: Bonjour, je m'appelle Jacques Drèze, j'ai beaucoup entendu parler de vous. Of course I was terrified by such an introduction. That was Jacques with his natural compassion and interest for the others. I later became his assistant for his well known lecture on statistical decision theory. Thanks to all the knowledge I had acquired at Core, I managed to enter Cnrs at the end of my contract. Some years later, with Luc Bauwens and Jean-François Richard, we published a book at Oxford on Bayesian Econometrics, developing in a way the Louvain's approach to Bayesian statistics, a domain to which Jacques contributed so much. I asked him to write a preface to this book. Jacques has always been somebody difficult to convince. He did not say no, but asked me to summarise which Bayesian articles had been important during the last 20 years. I confess that I cheated a bit, thanks to the very recent (at that time) computer tools for bibliographic exploration. Convinced by the list of articles that I quickly provided, Jacques finally accepted to write a nice and gentle preface. The last time I think I met Jacques was at the occasion of the emeritus celebration of his former PhD student Henri Sneessens. At the end of the ceremony, Jacques drove me back to the railway station as I was staying in Leuven. I took advantage of this little trip to ask him a personal question: Jacques, how do you manage conflicts? His long answer was quite illuminating for me and I still use it. At the end of this detour around of memories of these last forty years, I would like to say again that Jacques was a human giant.

Michel Lubrano