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The Buzz: Beauty and the Dismal Science


Can the elegant models of mathematics and physics be applied to something so intrinsically complicated as the economic behavior of individuals? When economist Paul Krugman argued in The New York Times Magazine last week that the failure of economists to predict the current economic crisis was due to their reliance on beautiful but flawed models of perfect markets, mathematician and hedge fund manager Eric Weinstein immediately tweeted his disagreement, asking ScienceBloggers Chad Orzel and Dave Bacon for their takes as well. Chad brought his experience with physics to bear, while Dave offered a few words of advice: “Retreat not, economists, from the shouting hordes of anti-math naysayers at the gates, but head over to your physics, computer science, and math departments.” Steinn Sigurðsson and Mike the Mad Biologist also weighed in on the article.