Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Zurab, physics, and trading

The person who successfully proposed Gross and Wilczek before me and who has won the Nobel stock market

http://www.nobelpreisboerse.de/Rankings.aspx

is not Zurab Kakushadze. Kakushadze answered from his office of the Royal Bank of Canada in New York:

"I'm not in banking, I'm in trading, and I've been very successful. ... No, it wasn't me, my time's too valuable for that kind of activities."

Well, many people in physics leave science and join the financial markets, and they are often successful. However, it seems that Kakushadze is a bit different. He obviously thinks that he is very important, probably more important than when he was writing good papers in physics. We're free to disagree.

Well, let me say that I think that the achievements of the Zurab who won the stock market are more interesting and impressive than the success of one of tens of thousands of traders working for whatever banks they choose. It's fine to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars by permuting money and influencing other people's decisions - using the fact that a particle physicist most likely has more talent for complex financial decisions than an average former student of business - but it is not necessarily the most fascinating activity in life.




Bill Gates who was mentioned below is my hero not only because he earns 10,000 times more than Zurab Kakushadze and because he is famous, but especially because he created something that affected not just his bank account, but also the world. And that makes a difference.

And that's the memo.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Lubos,

    The quote you provided does not contain sufficient information to reach one of the conclusions you seem to draw.

    According to you, Zurab said "my time's too valuable for that kind of activities." Is it clear that he thinks his time is more valuable now than it was when he was writing good papers?

    I'm sure there are plenty of outstanding scientists who think that their time is too valuable for "that kind of activities". One doesn't need to be a banker or trader in order to value one's time. I, on the other hand, clearly do not value my time since I waste it by posting replies on other people's blogs.

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  2. Hi!

    According to strict logic, the implication cannot be drawn. His time was almost certainly too valuable already when he was doing physics! ;-) At any rate, the sentence certainly says that his time is too valuable to try to win the Nobel stock market and play with similar things. Well, I count the value of time very differently, and if my job did not allow me to do such things at all, it would be interpreted as a job destroying personal freedom and independence, and money would probably become secondary. Sure, I don't expect that everyone else will agree with me.

    All the best
    Lubos

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  3. LubosBill Gates who was mentioned below is my hero not only because he earns 10,000 times more than Zurab Kakushadze and because he is famous, but especially because he created something that affected not just his bank account, but also the world. And that makes a difference.The History of the InternetI think its important that if you refer to Bill Gates that his contributions should be kept in perspective.

    The real artists of the internet are people like George Gamow, or maybe even Smolin in today's world. Looking at cellular automaton information one has to wonder about trying to describe GR with Numerical relativity. Mathematicians develope the frame work and the mdllers in computer language give us this wonderful view of things

    Or Calabi Yau models that have been mathematical map to computerization demonstrations.

    Those who become bank or financial wizards, look for these deep patterns within the interaction of society, Physics, and how crazy do you think they could become being looked at like John Nash was, running around following a flock of birds?

    They needed a keen eye to describe processes that many cannot see.

    sol

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