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Physics, finance, and the value of evidence

James Weatherall was a physicist before he became a philosopher. Today, he is a professor of logic and philosophy of science at University of California, Irvine.

His day job probes some tough issues. How, exactly, does physics fit with finance? What lessons (if any) did we learn from the 2008 economic crash? As the world enters a “post-truth” era, should scientists step forward to advocate for science?

When he visited Perimeter Institute in February 2017 to deliver a public lecture on the physics of finance, he sat down for an interview with Inside the Perimeter.

In the clip above, Weatherall explains how money, physics, and the complexity of math affect the global economy.

Weatherall’s next big project is to work with fellow philosopher Cailin O’Connor to explore the role and value of evidence in a “post-truth” world. In the clip below, he discusses why evidence matters, how it has fallen out of favour, and whether it’s a scientist’s role to advocate for science.


Below is Weatherall’s full Perimeter Public Lecture, “The Physics of Wall Street.”


Wednesday Feb. 1, 2017 at 7:00 PM ET Twenty-first century finance is built on complex mathematical tools developed by “quants,” a different breed of investor with expertise in fields such as physics, mathematics, and computer science. These models have been the basis for both new trading strategies and new financial products, leading to untold wealth. […]

/Jan 13, 2017

Wednesday Feb. 7, 2018 at 7 PM ET Tickets for seats in the theatre are now sold out. The live webcast will appear on this page   The riddle of the quantum sphinx: Quantum states and category mistakes Science is like puzzle-solving. Making sense of quantum theory is a particularly thorny kind of brain-twister, with more […]

/Feb 05, 2018

During a live webcast on Wed. March 1, 2017, NASA astrophysicist Amber Straughn provided a behind-the-scenes look at the powerful James Webb Space Telescope, and explained how it may help humanity answer some of its deepest questions.

/Feb 08, 2017