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Econophysics-inspired New Year thoughts

Hassan Masum

posted on 19 December 2004

(Guest commentary by Hassan Masum - Y-C Zhang's current postdoc.)

In the spirit of a New Year's resolution, consider the character of Econophysics itself. Two attributes of the field stand out: i) the application of careful and (where possible) rigorous modeling and simulation, to ii) questions of socio-economic systems.

In the modern world, understanding the operation of social systems and improving the policy atmosphere is arguably a key challenge around the world. Technical progress continues apace, but our understanding of collective human motivations and dynamics lags behind. Econophysics and sister fields have a real chance of contributing to the closing of this gap.

It is heartening to see progress being made on many fronts, from a slew of topical books to organized meetings to the training of a generation of scientists with the ability and inclination to tackle complex socio-economic phenomena. Perhaps we are moving toward a world where interdisciplinary yet intellectually rigorous teams routinely collaborate and move forward on a variety of difficult issues. Let's hope...

And with those thoughts, the Econophysics team here at the University of Fribourg would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!