Daily Archives: December 30, 2013

The Luncheon Society-SF/James Owen Weatherall/The Physics of Wall Street/1.9.13/Fior d’Italia

Weatherall bookWe are catching up on our narratives on The Luncheon Society for 2013 and we know that we are terribly behind.  We should be quickly caught up. 

James Owen WeatherallPerhaps the real Masters of the Universe are physicists after all.  Author James Owen Weatherall joined us for a conversation in San Francisco for his new book,  “The Physics of Wall Street, a Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable.”

What made gathering with James Owen Weatherall more fun is that we were joined by long-time Luncheon Society member Elwyn Berlekamp , one of the founders of The Medallion Fund as well as professor emeritus of mathematics and EECS at the University of California, Berkeley. Berlekamp is known for his work in coding theory and combinatorial game theory.

James Owen Weatherall is a physicist, philosopher, and mathematician. He holds graduate degrees from Harvard, the Stevens Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Irvine, where he is presently an assistant professor of logic and philosophy of science and a member of the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences. He has written for Slate and Scientific American.

Below is the opening excerpt from James Owen Weatherall’s, “The Physics of Wall Street, a Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable.”

Introduction: Of Quants and Other Demons 

WARREN BUFFETT ISN’T the best money manager in the world. Neither is George Soros or Bill Gross. The world’s best money manager is a man you’ve probably never heard of — unless you’re a physicist, in which case you’d know his name immediately. Jim Simons is co-inventor of a brilliant piece of mathematics called the Chern-Simons 3-form, one of the most important parts of string theory. It’s abstract, even abstruse, stuff — some say too abstract and speculative — but it has turned Simons into a living legend. He’s the kind of scientist whose name is uttered in hushed tones in the physics departments of Harvard and Princeton. Continue reading