How did physics become involved in the social and economic sciences? - Prof Peter Richmond

Thursday, November 26, 2009 - 19:15 to 20:15
FREE - No booking required
Paccar Theatre

Outlining the development of physics concerned with forces and machines as captured in the clockwork universe of Newton, Gallileo and Kepler to the emergence of a new paradigm - the statistical universe of Boltzmann and Gibbs with its emphasis on states and their evolution. Prof Richmond will discuss how the move from this the treatment of people in the manner of atoms as proposed by Mandelbrot seems entirely logical. Some applications will be developed by way of illustration. In passing we shall begin to understand how wealth in societies is as it is and why stock markets can crash. To physicists, unlike, it would seem, some of our bankers, these possibilities were evident well before the present financial debacle.