Robert Axelrod is the William D. Hamilton Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. He has appointments in the Department of Political Science and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Prior to coming to Michigan he taught at the University of California, Berkeley (1968-74). He holds a BA in mathematics from the University of Chicago (1964), and a PhD in political science from Yale (1969). In 2014, he was awarded the National Medal of Science, the "nation's highest honor for scientific achievement and leadership."
He is best known for his interdisciplinary work on the evolution of cooperation which has been cited more than 30,000 times. His current research interests include international security and sense-making. Among his honors and awards are membership in the National Academy of Sciences, a five year MacArthur Prize Fellowship, the Newcomb Cleveland Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences for an outstanding contribution to science, and the National Academy of Sciences Award for Behavioral Research Relevant to the Prevention of Nuclear War. He served as President of the American Political Science Association (2006-07). In 2015 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Harvard University.
Axelrod has consulted and lectured on promoting cooperation and harnessing complexity for the United Nations, the World Bank, the U.S. Department of Defense, and various organizations serving health care professionals, business leaders, and K-12 educators.