Bachelier, Louis Jean Baptist

The tragic hero of financial economics was the unfortunate Louis Bachelier (11 March 1870 - 28 April 1946).

In his 1900 dissertation written in Paris, Theorie de la Spéculation (and in his subsequent work, esp. 1906, 1913), he anticipated much of what was to become standard fare in financial theory: random walk of financial market prices, Brownian motion and martingales.

His innovativeness, however, was not appreciated by his professors or contemporaries. His dissertation received poor marks from his teachers and, consequently blackballed, he quickly dropped into the shadows of the academic underground.

After a series of minor posts, he ended up obscurely teaching in Besançla;on for much of the rest of his life. Virtually nothing else is known of this pioneer - his work being largely ignored until the 1960s. Major Works of Louis Bachelier

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Revised 9 June 2005