Friday, 21 February 2014

Science Club Events - 24 February 2014

Science Club Events - Lent 2014
24 February 2014 - 3pm - Wallace room 138

(note different time and room)

The biology of risk taking

Prof. John Coates

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There have been times when the ability and courage to take risks was highly rewarded - take King Arthur and his knights defending Britain from the Saxon invaders. However, at least since the last global financial crisis and ensuing economic recession (e.g. see here), many people have wondered what goes on in the mind of the traders taking high financial risks (and maybe not few would also like to stop them taking too many risks ...).
This topic concerns not only subprime mortgages, derivaties and other slightly obscure financial contracts, it is also a really interesting biological question. Our next seminar speaker, Prof. John Coates, is an expert in this topic. 

John has got a really interesting professional background, as he started by trading derivatives for Goldman Sachs and running a trading desk for Deutsche Bank. Whilst doing so he developed techniques for valuing and arbitraging the tails of probability distributions, and for trading low probability events such as financial crises. 

Then he switched to become a Senior Research Fellow in Neuroscience and Finance at the University of Cambridge and now researches the biology of risk taking and stress. He recently published also a book about his research on risk taking (see here). 

So why not 'take the risk' and come along to listen to a really interesting talk? 


It is common to think that financial risk taking is a purely cognitive activity. But when we take risks we do more than think about it: we prepare for it physically. Our body, expecting action, switches on chemical and electrical circuitry which provides us with the fuel and oxygen and vigilance and fast reactions we need to survive. It also shifts our risk preferences.

Everyone most welcome to attend! But please note that it will be held in a different room (W138), albeit still very close to the usual seminar room. And, at 3pm.

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