In 1972, the physicist Freeman Dyson wrote an article called “Missed Opportunities.” In it, he describes how relativity could have been discovered many years before Einstein announced his findings if mathematicians in places like Göttingen had spoken to physicists who were poring over Maxwell’s equations describing electromagnetism. The ingredients were there in 1865 to make the breakthrough—only announced by Einstein some 40 years later.
It is striking that Dyson should have written about scientific ships passing in the night. Shortly after he published the piece, he was responsible for an abrupt collision between physics and mathematics that produced one of the most remarkable scientific ideas of the last half century: that quantum physics and prime numbers are inextricably linked.
A very interesting read
"What the equation did was give everyone the confidence to trade options and very quickly, much more complicated financial options known as derivatives," he says.
Scholes thought his equation would be useful. He didn’t expect it to transform the face of finance. But it quickly became obvious that it would.
"About the time we had published this article, that’s 1973, simultaneously or approximately a month thereafter, the Chicago Board Options Exchange started to trade call options on 16 stocks," he recalls.
Scholes had just moved to the University of Chicago. He and his colleagues had already been teaching the Black-Scholes formula and methodology to students for several years.
"There were many young traders who either had taken courses at MIT or Chicago in using the option pricing technology. On the other hand, there was a group of traders who had only intuition and previous experience. And in a very short period of time, the intuitive players were essentially eliminated by the more systematic players who had this pricing technology."
That was just the beginning..