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Wednesday, 21 October 2020, 4:00PM - 7:00PM
Online Lecture

Maths and Money: From Gold to Bitcoin

Professor Norman Biggs, Professor D'Maris Coffman, Professor Andrew Lewis-Pye

This event, jointly hosted with the British Society for the History of Mathematics, will focus upon the relationship between mathematics and money, from coinage through to cryptocurrencies. 

The main speaker, Professor D’Maris Coffman will speak on Reserve Currencies in the Era of Fiat Money (6pm). This will be preceded by shorter presentations by Professor Norman Biggs on Thomas Harriot on the Coins of England (4pm) and by Professor Andrew Lewis-Pye on Cryptocurrencies: Protocols for Consensus (5pm). There will be a short break between presentations. The event ends at 7pm.

In the ten years since the Great Financial Crisis, there has been a great deal of interest in the putative decline of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. In reality, what has happened is a gradual diversity in central bank holdings of a basket of reserve currencies, which is likely to shift again in the wake of the almost certain economic depression following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Professor Coffman's lecture explores the economic theory of reserve currencies, the implications for globalisation and geopolitics, alongside the history of reserve currencies, especially the decline of sterling and the ascendancy of the dollar, and considers likely scenarios going forward.


Register for Online Lecture


Given Covid-19, we are live-streaming all our lectures online in 2020-21 and aim to re-introduce in-person lectures gradually as social distancing rules change.

To attend lectures online, please register using the button above. This also allows us to let you know how to book in-person tickets when they are reintroduced. The registration process is simple, free, and only requires an email address.

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From 1988 to 2006, Professor Biggs was Professor of Mathematics at the London School of Economics, where he was also Director of CDAM, the Centre for Discrete and Applicable Mathematics. Norman has written 13 books and over 100 papers on mathematical topics, many of them in algebraic combinatorics and its applications. He became Emeritus Professor in 2006 and continues to teach MA318 History of Mathematics in Finance and Economics for undergraduates.

He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics and a former General Secretary and member of the Council of the London Mathematical Society.

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D'Maris Coffman is the Professor of Economics and Finance of the Built Environment at UCL and Director of the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management. Born in Virginia, she grew up in Moab, Utah at the tail end of the Uranium boom and in Denver, Colorado amidst the 1980s Oil Glut and the Savings & Loan crisis. Before coming to UCL, she spent six years as a fellow of Newnham College where she variously held a junior research fellowship (Mary Bateson Research Fellowship), a post as a college lecturer and teaching fellow, and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. 

 

In July 2009, she started the Centre for Financial History in Cambridge, which she directed through December 2014. It is still going strong, but has moved from Newnham College to Darwin College in line with the affiliation of its new director. She did her undergraduate training in managerial and financial economics at The Wharton School and her MA and Ph.D. in History at the University of Pennsylvania. Her current research interests span financial history, infrastructure economics, construction economics, historical property development and climate change economics and finance. 

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Andrew is a Professor of Mathematics at the London School of Economics. His research interests are in computability, algorithmic randomness, network science and complex systems.

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