Physics: Finance Concentration, BS

This program is offered by the Physics & Engineering Physics Department

Program Description

Physics, finance and economics have had a long history together. A number of theories used in Finance and Economics were derived by physicists. For example, a co-recipient of the first Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 1969 was Jan Tinbergen, a physicist who trained under Paul Ehrenfest. Today, the world of Finance and Economics, from Wall Street to Insurance companies, seeks physicists and others with strong analytical skills, known as quants, to fill their need for quantitative analysis. James Harris Simons of Chern-Simons theory fame, is the founder of Renaissance Technologies, the company whose Medallion Fund is said to be one of the most successful hedge fund of all time,  and mainly hired physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists. The power and role of these physicists and their compatriots have been discussed and written about in books, for example, My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance, by Emmanuel Derman, Wiley & Sons Pub. (2007). The New York Times, describes them as “experts in mathematics, physics and computer science who brought sophisticated quantitative approaches to the world of Wall Street”.

In addition to the traditional career of physicists in research, education, and engineering, students with these concentrations will be better prepared to work in financial institutions, or do graduate studies in Finance, Economics, and Law, thus providing a wider array of options to them. For example, in the Law School entrance exams, the LSAT, physics majors have consistently been top performers. (see )