The Physics of Wall Street

Author: James Owen Weatherall
Publisher: HMH
ISBN: 9780547618296
Release Date: 2013-01-08
Genre: Business & Economics

A look inside the world of “quants” and how science can (and can’t) predict financial markets: “Entertaining and enlightening” (The New York Times). After the economic meltdown of 2008, Warren Buffett famously warned, “beware of geeks bearing formulas.” But while many of the mathematicians and software engineers on Wall Street failed when their abstractions turned ugly in practice, a special breed of physicists has a much deeper history of revolutionizing finance. Taking us from fin-de-siècle Paris to Rat Pack–era Las Vegas, from wartime government labs to Yippie communes on the Pacific coast, James Owen Weatherall shows how physicists successfully brought their science to bear on some of the thorniest problems in economics, from options pricing to bubbles. The crisis was partly a failure of mathematical modeling. But even more, it was a failure of some very sophisticated financial institutions to think like physicists. Models—whether in science or finance—have limitations; they break down under certain conditions. And in 2008, sophisticated models fell into the hands of people who didn’t understand their purpose, and didn’t care. It was a catastrophic misuse of science. The solution, however, is not to give up on models; it’s to make them better. This book reveals the people and ideas on the cusp of a new era in finance, from a geophysicist using a model designed for earthquakes to predict a massive stock market crash to a physicist-run hedge fund earning 2,478.6% over the course of the 1990s. Weatherall shows how an obscure idea from quantum theory might soon be used to create a far more accurate Consumer Price Index. The Physics of Wall Street will change how we think about our economic future. “Fascinating history . . . Happily, the author has a gift for making complex concepts clear to lay readers.” —Booklist

The Physics of Wall Street

Author: James Owen Weatherall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780547317274
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Business & Economics

A Harvard scholar argues that mathematical models can provide solutions to current economic challenges, explaining that the economic meltdown of 2008 was based on a misunderstanding of scientific models rather than on the models themselves.

The Physics of Wall Street

Author: James Owen Weatherall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN:
Release Date:
Genre:

After the economic meltdown of 2008, many pundits placed the blame on “complex financial instruments” and the physicists and mathematicians who dreamed them up. But how is it that physicists came to drive Wall Street? And were their ideas really the cause of the collapse?In The Physics of Wall Street, the physicist James Weatherall answers both of these questions. He tells the story of how physicists first moved to finance, bringing science to bear on some of the thorniest problems in economics, from bubbles to options pricing. The problem isn’t simply that economic models have limitations and can break down under certain conditions, but that at the time of the meltdown those models were in the hands of people who either didn’t understand their purpose or didn’t care. It was a catastrophic misuse of science. However, Weatherall argues that the solution is not to give up on the models but to make them better. Both persuasive and accessible, The Physics of Wall Street is riveting history that will change how we think about our economic future. “Weatherall probes an epochal shift in financial strategizing with lucidity, explaining how it occurred and what it means for modern finance.”—Peter Galison, author of Einstein’s Clocks, Poincare’s Maps Wall Street has long attracted talented business-school graduates; only in recent years has it also drawn analysts with doctorates in physics, mathematics, and statistics. That change is the focus of this fascinating history by a young University of California, Irvine, professor. Weatherall’s narrative mixes familiar names (Blaise Pascal, Pierre de Fermat, Paul Samuelson, Fischer Black, Myron Scholes) with more obscure figures like Gerolamo Cardano, Louis Bachelier, and Didier Sornette. Many key concepts will be familiar from the financial press: e.g., random walk theory, delta hedging, dynamic hedging, and black box models. Happily, the author has a gift for making complex concepts clear to lay readers. Weatherall understands the temptation to blame the quants for the 2008 market crash but urges that the danger comes when we use ideas from physics, but we stop thinking like physicists. Thinking like physicists means recognizing that every model is based on simplifying assumptions and that model building requires a constant iterative process of testing and improvement. Using that process, Weatherall argues, quants can offer useful insights and tools for both economic policymakers and financial speculators.

The Physics of Finance

Author: James Owen Weatherall
Publisher:
ISBN: 1780720874
Release Date: 2014
Genre: Prediction theory

"He takes us on a lively journey from fin-de-siècle Paris to Rat Pack-era Las Vegas, from wartime government labs to Yippie communes, showing how some of the finest scientific minds of the last century came to construct the sophisticated models on which modern securities trading is based"--Back cover.

Void

Author: James Owen Weatherall
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300209983
Release Date: 2016-11-22
Genre: Science

The rising star author of "The Physics of Wall Street" explores why nothing may hold the key to the next era of theoretical physics"

Heraclitean Fire

Author: Erwin Chargaff
Publisher: Paul & Company Pub Consortium
ISBN: UOM:39015004321207
Release Date: 1978
Genre: Science

The eminent biochemist reflects on his life and work in Vienna and in America, shedding light on his DNA research and the work and opinions that led to his reputation as a maverick

Genius

Author: James Gleick
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 9781453210437
Release Date: 2011-02-22
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

New York Times Bestseller: This life story of the quirky physicist is “a thorough and masterful portrait of one of the great minds of the century” (The New York Review of Books). Raised in Depression-era Rockaway Beach, physicist Richard Feynman was irreverent, eccentric, and childishly enthusiastic—a new kind of scientist in a field that was in its infancy. His quick mastery of quantum mechanics earned him a place at Los Alamos working on the Manhattan Project under J. Robert Oppenheimer, where the giddy young man held his own among the nation’s greatest minds. There, Feynman turned theory into practice, culminating in the Trinity test, on July 16, 1945, when the Atomic Age was born. He was only twenty-seven. And he was just getting started. In this sweeping biography, James Gleick captures the forceful personality of a great man, integrating Feynman’s work and life in a way that is accessible to laymen and fascinating for the scientists who follow in his footsteps.

Models Behaving Badly

Author: Emanuel Derman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781439165010
Release Date: 2011-10-25
Genre: Science

Now in paperback, “a compelling, accessible, and provocative piece of work that forces us to question many of our assumptions” (Gillian Tett, author of Fool’s Gold). Quants, physicists working on Wall Street as quantitative analysts, have been widely blamed for triggering financial crises with their complex mathematical models. Their formulas were meant to allow Wall Street to prosper without risk. But in this penetrating insider’s look at the recent economic collapse, Emanuel Derman—former head quant at Goldman Sachs—explains the collision between mathematical modeling and economics and what makes financial models so dangerous. Though such models imitate the style of physics and employ the language of mathematics, theories in physics aim for a description of reality—but in finance, models can shoot only for a very limited approximation of reality. Derman uses his firsthand experience in financial theory and practice to explain the complicated tangles that have paralyzed the economy. Models.Behaving.Badly. exposes Wall Street’s love affair with models, and shows us why nobody will ever be able to write a model that can encapsulate human behavior.

How I Became a Quant

Author: Richard R. Lindsey
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118044754
Release Date: 2011-01-11
Genre: Business & Economics

Praise for How I Became a Quant "Led by two top-notch quants, Richard R. Lindsey and Barry Schachter, How I Became a Quant details the quirky world of quantitative analysis through stories told by some of today's most successful quants. For anyone who might have thought otherwise, there are engaging personalities behind all that number crunching!" --Ira Kawaller, Kawaller & Co. and the Kawaller Fund "A fun and fascinating read. This book tells the story of how academics, physicists, mathematicians, and other scientists became professional investors managing billions." --David A. Krell, President and CEO, International Securities Exchange "How I Became a Quant should be must reading for all students with a quantitative aptitude. It provides fascinating examples of the dynamic career opportunities potentially open to anyone with the skills and passion for quantitative analysis." --Roy D. Henriksson, Chief Investment Officer, Advanced Portfolio Management "Quants"--those who design and implement mathematical models for the pricing of derivatives, assessment of risk, or prediction of market movements--are the backbone of today's investment industry. As the greater volatility of current financial markets has driven investors to seek shelter from increasing uncertainty, the quant revolution has given people the opportunity to avoid unwanted financial risk by literally trading it away, or more specifically, paying someone else to take on the unwanted risk. How I Became a Quant reveals the faces behind the quant revolution, offering you?the?chance to learn firsthand what it's like to be a?quant today. In this fascinating collection of Wall Street war stories, more than two dozen quants detail their roots, roles, and contributions, explaining what they do and how they do it, as well as outlining the sometimes unexpected paths they have followed from the halls of academia to the front lines of an investment revolution.

Pricing the Future

Author: George Szpiro
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780465022489
Release Date: 2011-11-29
Genre: Business & Economics

Financial economist Szpiro tells the fascinating stories of the pioneers of mathematical finance who conducted the search for the elusive options pricing formula. "Pricing the Future" retraces the historical and intellectual developments that ultimately led to the widespread use of mathematical models to drive investment strategies on Wall Street.

Forecast

Author: Mark Buchanan
Publisher: A&C Black
ISBN: 9781408827376
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Business cycles

A groundbreaking book that uses physics to show how instability is inherent in economic markets, just as thunderstorms are a part of the weather.

Fortune s Formula

Author: William Poundstone
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 0374707081
Release Date: 2010-06-01
Genre: Business & Economics

In 1956, two Bell Labs scientists discovered the scientific formula for getting rich. One was mathematician Claude Shannon, neurotic father of our digital age, whose genius is ranked with Einstein's. The other was John L. Kelly Jr., a Texas-born, gun-toting physicist. Together they applied the science of information theory—the basis of computers and the Internet—to the problem of making as much money as possible, as fast as possible. Shannon and MIT mathematician Edward O. Thorp took the "Kelly formula" to Las Vegas. It worked. They realized that there was even more money to be made in the stock market. Thorp used the Kelly system with his phenomenally successful hedge fund, Princeton-Newport Partners. Shannon became a successful investor, too, topping even Warren Buffett's rate of return. Fortune's Formula traces how the Kelly formula sparked controversy even as it made fortunes at racetracks, casinos, and trading desks. It reveals the dark side of this alluring scheme, which is founded on exploiting an insider's edge. Shannon believed it was possible for a smart investor to beat the market—and William Poundstone's Fortune's Formula will convince you that he was right.

The Quants

Author: Scott Patterson
Publisher: Crown Business
ISBN: 0307453391
Release Date: 2010-02-02
Genre: Business & Economics

With the immediacy of today’s NASDAQ close and the timeless power of a Greek tragedy, The Quants is at once a masterpiece of explanatory journalism, a gripping tale of ambition and hubris, and an ominous warning about Wall Street’s future. In March of 2006, four of the world’s richest men sipped champagne in an opulent New York hotel. They were preparing to compete in a poker tournament with million-dollar stakes, but those numbers meant nothing to them. They were accustomed to risking billions. On that night, these four men and their cohorts were the new kings of Wall Street. Muller, Griffin, Asness, and Weinstein were among the best and brightest of a new breed, the quants. Over the prior twenty years, this species of math whiz--technocrats who make billions not with gut calls or fundamental analysis but with formulas and high-speed computers--had usurped the testosterone-fueled, kill-or-be-killed risk-takers who’d long been the alpha males the world’s largest casino. The quants helped create a digitized money-trading machine that could shift billions around the globe with the click of a mouse. Few realized, though, that in creating this unprecedented machine, men like Muller, Griffin, Asness and Weinstein had sowed the seeds for history’s greatest financial disaster. Drawing on unprecedented access to these four number-crunching titans, The Quants tells the inside story of what they thought and felt in the days and weeks when they helplessly watched much of their net worth vaporize--and wondered just how their mind-bending formulas and genius-level IQ’s had led them so wrong, so fast.

The Buy Side

Author: Turney Duff
Publisher: Crown Business
ISBN: 9780770437169
Release Date: 2013-06-04
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

New York Times Bestseller The Buy Side, by former Galleon Group trader Turney Duff, portrays an after-hours Wall Street culture where drugs and sex are rampant and billions in trading commissions flow to those who dangle the most enticements. A remarkable writing debut, filled with indelible moments, The Buy Side shows as no book ever has the rewards – and dizzying temptations – of making a living on the Street. Growing up in the 1980’s Turney Duff was your average kid from Kennebunk, Maine, eager to expand his horizons. After trying – and failing – to land a job as a journalist, he secured a trainee position at Morgan Stanley and got his first feel for the pecking order that exists in the trading pits. Those on the “buy side,” the traders who make large bets on whether a stock will rise or fall, are the “alphas” and those on the “sell side,” the brokers who handle their business, are eager to please. How eager to please was brought home stunningly to Turney in 1999 when he arrived at the Galleon Group, a colossal hedge-fund management firm run by secretive founder Raj Rajaratnam. Finally in a position to trade on his own, Turney was encouraged to socialize with the sell side and siphon from his new broker friends as much information as possible. Soon he was not just vacuuming up valuable tips but also being lured into a variety of hedonistic pursuits. Naïve enough to believe he could keep up the lifestyle without paying a price, he managed to keep an eye on his buy-and-sell charts and, meanwhile, pondered the strange goings on at Galleon, where tens of millions were being made each week in sometimes mysterious ways. At his next positions, at Argus Partners and J.L. Berkowitz, Turney climbed to even higher heights – and, as it turned out, plummeted to even lower depths – as, by day, he solidified his reputation one of the Street’s most powerful healthcare traders, and by night, he blazed a path through the city’s nightclubs, showing off his social genius and voraciously inhaling any drug that would fill the void he felt inside. A mesmerizingly immersive journey through Wall Street’s first millennial decade, and a poignant self portrait by a young man who surely would have destroyed himself were it not for his decision to walk away from a seven-figure annual income, The Buy Side is one of the best coming-of-age-on-the-Street books ever written. From the Hardcover edition.

A Man for All Markets

Author: Edward O Thorp
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 9781786070296
Release Date: 2017-02-02
Genre: Business & Economics

Mathematics professor. Professional gambler. Tech inventor. Hedge fund heavyweight. Bestselling author. One of a kind. Edward O Thorp worked his way up from nothing to become a professor at MIT. Using one of their early computers for his calculations, he invented card counting, making huge winnings at blackjack, roulette and baccarat in Las Vegas and brushing shoulders with mobsters along the way. Thorp then went on to Wall Street, where he began a hugely successful career in the stock market, attracting the attention of global investors such as Warren Buffett. He used statistical techniques to find and exploit pricing anomalies in the securities markets and built a significant fortune, earning him the nickname 'The Godfather of Quants'. For the first time, Thorp shares his incredible life story, explaining how he made his money and giving advice to the next generation of investors.