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Pricing the Future: Finance, Physics, and the 300-year Journey to the Black-Scholes Equation by George Szpiro

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FOUR
The Banker’s Secretary
REGNAULT WAS AMONG THE FIRST ECONOMISTS TO USE mathematical and probabilistic formulations to describe financial phenomena. Until then, and even for some time afterward, social scientists disdained math, preferring verbose descriptions of the phenomena they were trying to understand. Even Regnault had to couch his arguments in prose to avoid alienating traditional economists. But scientific rigor and conciseness are achieved through equations, and the prevailing disregard for mathematical tools prevented a more precise understanding of the workings of the stock exchange. So maybe pictures—one step short of full-fledged mathematics—would do the job? The first person to introduce a graphical conception of economical ...

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