Professor Emeritus of Management David Durand, an adherent of applying statistical methods to problems in corporate finance, died Feb. 26. Durand, 83, lived in Lexington, Mass.
Durand's family said the cause of death was aplastic anemia.
At the National Bureau of Economic Research, Durand "pioneered the empirical study of how long-term bonds usually require a higher yield than short. Everyone understands that today, but he was the first to document it," said Professor Emeritus of Economics and Nobel Laureate Paul A. Samuelson.
Raised in Ithaca, N.Y., Durand received a bachelor of arts degree from Cornell University in 1934, and both a masters degree (1938) and doctorate (1941) from Columbia University. He was a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II, serving in Hawaii and Guam.
He had been associated with the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton University and had taught part-time at Columbia.
Durand's first appointment at MITwas as a research associate at the Sloan School of Management. He became an associate professor in 1955 and professor in 1958. He retired in 1973.
In addition to the application of statistical methods to financial problems, his fields of specialization included term structure of interest rates and statistics.
Durand's strongly-held views often stirred lively debate with other members of the management faculty.
One of his former doctoral students, Donald E. Lewin PhD '71 said that Durand "used his keen intellect and statistical knowledge" to question whether statistical models matched reality. "Frequently, this did not endear him to those enamored of a model. Indeed, his doubting approach caused him to be often in the center of a controversy."
Durand is survived by his wife, Edith Durand of Lexington, and a daughter, Marie D. Durand '80 of Princeton, N.J.
A memorial service will be held in the MIT Chapel on April 13 at 1 p.m.