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The 2022 Hubert Curien Memorial Lecture: Economic & Financial Crises: A (Statistical) Physicists Viewpoint

Event Details:

  • Date:          Thursday, 19 May 2022
  • Time:          Starts 19:30
  • Venue:       Costas Stefanis Amphitheater, Athalassa Campus, The Cyprus Institute - and online (see below)
  • Speaker:    Prof. Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, École Normale Supérieure, Paris & Founder and Chairman of Capital Fund Management (CFM)

The 2022 Hubert Curien Memorial Lecture

Economic & Financial Crises: A (Statistical) Physicist's Viewpoint

Prof. Jean-Philippe Bouchaud
Professor, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris
Founder and Chairman of Capital Fund Management (CFM)

19 May 2022, 19:30
Costas Stefanis Amphitheater
The Cyprus Institute


A reception will follow the lecture


Financial and economic history is strewn with bubbles and crashes, booms and busts, crises and upheavals of all sorts. Understanding the origin of these events is arguably one of the most important problems in economic theory. In 1972 article “More Is Different”, Nobel physicist P. W. Anderson wrote that "the behaviour of large assemblies of individuals cannot be understood by extrapolating the behaviour of isolated individuals. On the contrary, completely new effects, sometimes spectacular and difficult to anticipate, may appear and require new ideas and methods."

The purpose of statistical physics is precisely to try to understand these collective phenomena, which do not belong to any of the underlying elementary constituents. In particular, small changes at the individual level can lead to dramatic effects at the collective level. Several simple examples will be discussed, which demonstrate the need to go beyond the models of classical economics, based on the idea of a rational "representative agent", for which only exogenous events can lead to crises - whereas many socio-economic or financial phenomena seem to be endogenous in nature.


About the speaker

jp bouchaudProf. Jean-Philippe Bouchaud is a founder and Chairman of Capital Fund Management (CFM) and Professor at École Normale Supérieure, where he teaches a course entitled “From Statistical Mechanics to Social Sciences”. He graduated from École Normale Supérieure in 1985 and worked for the CNRS and the CEA. He spent a year at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge in 1992.

A pioneer in econophysics, he co-founded the company Science et Finance in 1994, which later merged with Capital Fund Management (CFM) in 2000. His work covers the physics of “complex” systems, the statistics of stock market fluctuations, microstructure and price formation and macroeconomic agent-based modelling. Prof. Bouchaud is recipient of the IBM Young Researcher Prize (1989), the CNRS Silver medal (1995), and was elected Risk Quant of the Year (2017) and Member of the French Academy of Sciences (2017).  He held the Bettencourt Innovation Chair at Collège de France in 2021.



The Hubert Curien Memorial Lectures

The Cyprus Institute founded the Hubert Curien Memorial Lectures Series, in honor of the late Prof. Hubert Curien (1924-2005), a Trustee of CREF and founding Chair of its International Council. Prof. Hubert Curien, a physicist, is regarded as one of the most influential scientists and science policy makers of the 20th century. After an involvement in the French resistance at the end of World War II, Hubert Curien graduated from the École Normale Supérieure. His scientific work was devoted to crystallography and he became an Assistant Professor at Paris University at the age of 27 and Professor five years later.

He worked at CNRS as the Head of Physical Sciences Division and soon after as Director General. He served as Minister for Research (in several governments under the presidency of F. Mitterrand), but he never stopped teaching during all those years. He assumed a number of leading positions within European Science: President of the European Science Foundation, President of the European Space Agency, President of the Academia Europaea, President of CERN Council, as well as in France, where he had been President of Académié des Sciences de France and in numerous science boards.

He was highly respected for his devotion to science, his openness and his generosity to people. His contribution in the planning and realization of The Cyprus Institute was pivotal and profound.

Previous Hubert Curien Memorial Lectures

2020 Prof. Marc Mézard, Director of Ecole Normale Supérieure
Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Commissioner of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Development, and Member of The Cyprus Institute Board of Trustees
 Dr Janez Potočnik, Former EU Commissioner for Environment & Member of The Cyprus Institute Board of Trustees
Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council (ERC)
2015 Prof. Daniel Cohen, Professor of Economics at the École Normale Supérieure, at the Université de Paris-I and at the École d'économie de Paris, France
2014 Carlo Rubbia, Nobel Prize in Physics, Scientific Director IASS Potsdam, Former Director General of CERN
2012-2013 Edouard Brézin, former President of the French Academy of Sciences, Chairman of Board of Trustees of The Cyprus Institute, and Herwig Schopper, former Director General of CERN, Emeritus Trustee of The Cyprus Institute
2011 Anastasios P. Leventis, Director of the Leventis Group International Companies and Chairman of the A.G. Leventis Foundation
2010 Richard N. Cooper, Professor of International Economics, Harvard University, USA
2009 Apostolos P. Georgopoulos, Professor of Neuroscience, Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, USA
2008 Paul Crutzen (on his behalf Jos Lelieveld), Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Emeritus Director of the Atmospheric Chemistry Division of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany, and Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California at San Diego, USA
2007 Harold Varmus, Nobel Prize in Medicine, Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, USA
2006 José Mariano Gago, Minister of Science and Higher Education, Portugal

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Additional Info

  • Date: Thursday 19 May 2022
  • Time: Lecture starts: 19:30
  • Speaker: Prof. Jean-Philippe Bouchaud
  • Speaker Position: Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris & Founder and Chairman of Capital Fund Management (CFM)