Hans Föllmer Named Andrew Dickson White Professor-At-Large
Andrew Dickson White Professor-at-Large Hans Föllmer was one of the fist mathematicians in the world to recognize the significance of the work of Black, Scholes and Merton that now underlies the field of financial engineering. He is a scholar of both mathematics and economics, and is considered one of the founders of the discipline of mathematical finance. He visited Cornell in 2004 as the Mary Upson Professor in 2004.
Three current ORIE faculty members are coauthors with Föllmer of papers relating to portfolio theory, stochastic finance, and the mathematics of random change over time (Brownian motion) -- Philip Protter, Alexander Schied and Stefan Weber. Schied was his Ph.D. student at the University of Bonn, while Weber was his Ph.D. student at Humboldt University. Föllmer is the author, with Schied, of Stochastic Finance: An Introduction in Discrete Time, published in 2002 with a Russian edition published earlier this year. He has also made contributions to probability theory and mathematical physics, and began his studies in philosphy and French literature. He has been on the faculty of universities in Frankfurt, Bonn, and Zurich as well as Berlin.
Professor Protter commented that Föllmer's "talks and manner of presenting the key issues has inspired many people (including myself, some 24 years ago) to begin to do research in Financial Engineering." Professor Weber added that Föllmer "creates the most inspiring atmosphere that I can imagine. Hans is stellar, but at the same time is always very friendly and modest. I was extremely lucky to have him as my Ph.D. advisor." Protter noted Follmer is "such a gifted speaker that his talks enchant the audience, ranging from high school students and lay intellectuals to the most high powered mathematicians and engineers."
He is "one of those rare mathematicians who profoundly understands economics as well as probability theory," said Protter, adding that this has allowed Föllmer to "be at the forefront of breaking research over a 30 year period, always blazing a trail for others to follow. He was one of the first mathematicians to go beyond stochastic control theory to help develop the theory into a truly robust one, and to give understanding of the workings of the investment community."
Professor Schied said "I have worked closely with Hans in Bonn and Berlin. His influence on his students such as myself cannot be overstated. I am therefore absolutely delighted that he has been named A.D. White Professor-at Large and look forward to his return to the Cornell campus."
At any one time, twenty outstanding intellectuals from across the globe hold the title of Andrew Dickson White Professor-at-Large and are considered full members of the Cornell faculty. During the six-year term of appointment, each Professor-at-Large visits the Ithaca campus three or four times for a period ranging from one to two weeks under a single mandate - to enliven the intellectual and cultural life of the university. The AD White Professor-at-Large program stems from a idea of White, Cornell's first president, to maintain intellectual connections between Cornell and the wider world through the use of non-resident faculty. The current program was established and named in White's honor on the University's centennial in 1965.
The list of those who have have served as AD White professors includes science writer Natalie Angier, diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, composer Elliott Carter, writer and actor John Cleese, mathematical statistician Persi Diaconis, primatologist Jane Goodall, sculptor Andy Goldworthy, mathematician Ralph E. Gomory, archeologist L S.B. Leakey, mathematician Laszlo Lovaz, poet Adrienne Rich, physician Oliver Sacks, novelist Toni Morrison, geneticist J. Craig Venter, and novelist Eudora Welty. Among them, Angier, Brahimi and Venter are current AD White Professors along with Föllmer.
For additional information, click here.