Chapter

Physics

Robert G. Hagstrom

in Investing

Published by Columbia University Press

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780231160100
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780231531016 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.7312/columbia/9780231160100.003.0002
Physics

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This chapter examines how various concepts in physics were uncovered and the degree to which they may now be evolving into somewhat different forms with profound implications for finance and economics. It begins with Isaac Newton's discovery of gravitation and his three laws of motion. After Newton, scholars in many fields focused their attention on systems that demonstrate equilibrium (whether static or dynamic), believing that it is nature's ultimate goal. If any deviations in the forces occurred, it was assumed that the deviations were small and temporary—and the system would always revert back to equilibrium. The critical point here is how the concept of equilibrium expanded from celestial mechanics into much broader applications, particularly in economics and the stock market. This chapter also considers the work of Alfred Marshall, the chief proponent of the concept of dynamic equilibrium in economics, and Paul Samuelson's theories of how the market establishes prices.

Keywords: physics; economics; Isaac Newton; gravitation; three laws of motion; equilibrium; stock market; Alfred Marshall; Paul Samuelson; prices

Chapter.  5154 words. 

Subjects: Financial Markets

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