Wednesday, May 20, 2015

About me

I'm adding a bit more to my biographical information than: "I am a physicist who messes around with economic theory." It will still be a bit vague because this is a completely open forum and I'd like to maintain some privacy.

I went to the University of Texas at Austin and graduated in the 1990s with a degree in math and a degree in physics; my primary interests were topology and group theory in the former and plasma physics in the latter.

Discovery and me at the OPF.
Upon graduating, I moved up to Seattle to study at the University of Washington for my PhD in theoretical physics. I worked on nuclear and particle physics and my thesis was on the quark structure of nuclei. I spent time looking at the EMC effect — I was the one who created the original article on Wikipedia — and also trying to predict the results of experiments at TJNAF. I have several publications from this era. I was what is called in physics a "phenomenologist" (a special breed of theorist who connects theory to experiment).

I briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a "quant" as I was writing my thesis. I studied up on finance models, and was actually offered a few positions but ended up turning them down. This was what started my interest in the econoblogosphere.

I instead got a job at a company that will remain nameless doing research and development work mostly revolving around signal processing. That was only interrupted by a government fellowship that included relocation to DC, attending some congressional committee meetings, and touring the OPF as pictured. One of the more economics-relevant things I saw was recent work on prediction markets (more about those here).

It was during that time I stumbled upon this paper by Fielitz and Borchardt and tried to apply the information transfer framework to what is essentially Hayek's description of the price mechanism. That didn't exactly work, but it did work if you thought about the problem differently. I thought it was sufficiently different that it might be an interesting development in economics — or at least prediction markets — so I started to write a paper. That paper became the first few posts of this blog which I started after I returned to Seattle (and that job at that nameless company).

I currently live in Seattle with my amazing wife and awesome step-daughter (who both are wonderful for putting up with the blogging and research).

PS Here's a post I wrote on what I considered to be formative reading for me — at least with regard to this blog.

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I wrote a book! (August 2017)
A Random Physicist Takes on Economics
and am working on a second one ... As of June 2019, it's now available!
A Workers' History of the United States 1948-2020

I gave a talk in October 2018 at the University of Washington Economics department (see here for other talks and presentations).

I have now put out two economics papers. The first is available as a preprint at the arXiv, on EconPapers, and at SSRN:
Information equilibrium as an economic principle (2015)
The second is at SSRN:
Maximum entropy and information theory approaches to economics (2018)
I also wrote an article for Evonomics:
Hayek Meets Information Theory. And Fails.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Sure thing -- it might have to wait until the new year as I am busy with end-of-year work and then leaving on vacation.


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