I give the economists credit for entering the lion's den of theoretical physicists. Here is how J. DOYNE FARMER, of the Santa Fe Institute and Prediction Company, described a meeting of this type that occurred 20 years ago.
With some justification, many economists think that the entry of physicists into their world reflects merely audacity, hubris, and arrogance. Physicists are not known for their humility, and some physicists have presented their work in a manner that plays into this stereotype. The cultural barrier between the two groups will be difficult to overcome. This schism was already evident at a conference held at the Santa Fe Institute in 1988 titled “The Economy as an Evolving Complex System.” Roughly half the participants were economists and the other half physicists. Although many of the physicists were largely ignorant of economics, that did not prevent them from openly criticizing the economists. At one point, Nobel laureate Phil Anderson said, “You guys really believe that?” At another point, Larry Summers (now Secretary of the Treasury) accused physicists of having a “Tarzan complex.” This was not just a turf war. Whether due to nature or nurture, this conference clearly showed that there is a deep epistemological divide between physicists and economists that is difficult to cross.
The first day talks are listed below. Perimeter is usually good about putting their talks online, so you can probably enjoy them yourself without schlepping all the way to Canada :-)
9:15 - 10:00 Eric Weinstein Conference Overview
10:00 - 10:45 Nouriel Roubini
11:10 - 11:55 Nassim Taleb
11:55 - 12:40 W. Brian Arthur Neoclassical Economics and its Policy Biases: Is there an alternative?
12:40 - 1:00 Panel Discussion with Speakers
1:00 - 2:30 Lunch Break
2:30 - 3:15 Emanuel Derman Scientists, Sciensters, Anti-Scientists & Economics
3:15 - 4:00 Andrew Lo The Adaptive Markets Hypothesis and Financial Crisis
4:15 - 5:00 Richard Alexander
5:00 - 6:00 Panel Discussion with Speakers and Wrap Up