My question on econophysics is closed for being 'off-topic'. But at this stage-- when there is no econophysics forum and the boundary of Physics SE is less defined and rigid-- it should not be closed. Also one must understand that econophysics is physics, with some economics bent. Much like how engineering physics is physics with engineering application bent.

Not to mention closing a question when the answerer hadn't even done with his answer is plain-- how to put it nicely-- rude.

Don't you feel that my question should remain open?


I don't see what's wrong with cross-disciplinary questions, as long as someone is able to make a strong case for the relevance to physics.


Frankly, the question you've linked isn't physics at all. You're just asking

How can [mathematical tool] be applied to quantitative finance such as option value calculation?

and that is purely a quantitative-finance question; as such it belongs on the Quantitative Finance Stack Exchange site (which opened to public beta in February 2011).

I really don't see how "but [mathematical tool] was developed for use in physics!" is a relevant argument. The same is true for calculus - does that mean that all questions about differentiation and integration are on-topic here?

It's pretty telling that the supporting argument for this,

much like how engineering physics is physics with engineering application bent,

goes a good bit of the way towards sinking the general argument: generally speaking, engineering questions are not considered on-topic here. While it uses concepts from physics, engineering is a separate discipline and to really do engineering, one needs to know and apply a whole host of separate tools, concepts and frameworks, which have nothing to do with physics. So, if the question is "which laws of physics underlie this engineering solution", that's a physics question, but if it's "how does one use X physics to solve this engineering problem", that's an engineering problem. The question linked here falls strictly on the not-physics side of the divide. Heck, if it were asking "how does one link the uses of path integrals in physics with those in finance?" you could argue that it's a multidisciplinary question, but that's not how it's been phrased.

As for this,

Not to mention closing a question when the answerer hadn't even done with his answeris plain-- how to put it nicely-- rude

the presence or absence of answers, let alone whether the answerer has further edits planned for that answer, is irrelevant to whether the question is on-topic. Closing questions is supposed to prevent answers, so the correct reading of "I was writing an answer but the question got closed" is "I chose an off-topic question to answer".

In any case, though, from the understanding of the site's scope as it has matured in the years since this question was posted:

Should we allow econophysics questions?

So long as they have a nontrivial component that's directly asking about parts of physics, then yes. If they're asking how tools from physics can be applied within other fields, then no.

  • $\begingroup$ Could you consider adding a bit more to that last paragraph ("so long as they have a nontrivial...") and setting it it up as a tag-excerpt for econophyiscs (physics.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/econo-physics), along with a link to this meta post? I'd suggest an edit for it myself, but I'm not sure what I could emphasize as allowed, and the posts with the tag don't provide a good diversity of allowed topics. $\endgroup$ – Chair Feb 10 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ I find it a bit concerning that the question seems to currently have two reopen votes on it. I understand the discussion here, but based on the current site policies and attitude it seems pretty unrelated to physics as worded, regardless where the methods come from. $\endgroup$ – JMac Feb 10 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac the review was completed with unanimous leave closed. Sadly, though, people are overly sympathetic and vote to reopen questions just because it was posted on Meta. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Feb 10 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ JMac and @KyleKanos One of those reopen votes is mine, as I'd mentioned in chat. I cast those before I found out that the quantitative finance site existed, because I don't believe the too-broad reason is appropriate. Unfortunately, I can't retract that vote. $\endgroup$ – Chair Feb 11 at 3:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Chair even without the quant.SE site, the question would be off-topic because it's not even about physics... $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Feb 11 at 3:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Chair Even if it isn't too broad, why would it be on topic? $\endgroup$ – JMac Feb 11 at 12:47
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac In my opinion, it's asking about the path integral techniques, and that's physics, even if the context is finance. I'm not sure if this analogy is perfect, but I think it's like the way we answer questions about how some parts of humans' eyes were, wherein we're discussing physics though it's a biological system. However, I don't see the point in discussing this too much since we agree that the question in this post is off topic. If some other such case comes up wherein there's no alternative site which is appropriate, we can discuss it there. $\endgroup$ – Chair Feb 11 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Chair I might just be misunderstanding something, but isn't a path integral technique technically something mathematical, that is mostly applied to quantum physics? Since the question is about the math being applied to something non-physical, it would be a math question and an economics question. There is nothing in it that requires physics, even if the mathematical technique used is common in physics. When we discuss how eyes work, we focus on the optical physics. There is no physics to focus on here, only math that is commonly applied to physics; but isn't in this case. $\endgroup$ – JMac Feb 11 at 13:35

While I don't have a strong feeling on this a I will argue the contrary position just to have it down here.

That's a finance question.

Really that's the whole argument.

You're asking about using a particular tool, and the tool arose in a physics context and is taught almost exclusively to and by physicists, but it is still just a tool. If the business colleges every get around to teaching that math themselves putting questions like this in a physics context will look really silly in retrospect.

In the mean time, by historical accident physics forums are the place to find people who know the math.

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    $\begingroup$ That would be good argument if this was the whole story. It isn't. Actually, far from it. Path integral is not just a tool. It connects different areas together. In the same way there are dualities connecting e.g. one-dimensional Ising ferromagnet and discrete-time tunneling between two wells (and again actually by the means of path integral!) can many areas in finance and physics be connected. I think questions overlapping more areas (as this one) belong to both worlds. And not just one (based on arbitrary subjective assumptions). $\endgroup$ – Marek Dec 19 '10 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ the poster is asking about the question in particular and econophysics on the site in general & this response only addresses the former. econophysics is a very significant field at this point with lots of highly credible/ scientific work & is likely to grow significantly in the future. $\endgroup$ – vzn Feb 9 '15 at 1:51
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    $\begingroup$ It's interesting to see this answer's score bounce back from the -5s to neutral in one day. Attitudes do seem to have changed. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Feb 12 at 14:18

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