Old Library
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Talks I: Old Library

A digital database of the correspondence of Catherine the Great of Russia

Andrew Kahn (SCR)

Read more >A prolific letter-writer, Catherine II ruled during the high point of the European Enlightenment, when letters were the essential knowledge-transfer medium in government, commerce and intellectual exchange in an increasingly globalised world. She maintained a vast correspondence with fellow crowned heads of state, great thinkers and writers (Voltaire, d'Alembert), and her generals and court. Despite their huge importance, her letters (over 5,000) have not been collected. The project aims to produce a fully searchable online database. This talk will demonstrate the pilot and explain the significance.

What can dinosaurs tell us about evolution?

Roger Benson (SCR)

What debt management strategies do OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries follow?

Ilona Mostipan (MCR)

Read more >How do debt managers decide about the maturity of new public debt?

Typical debt management objectives include:

  1. cost minimization,
  2. economic stabilization and tax smoothing, and
  3. adjusting to investor preferences.
These objectives cannot be all achieved simultaneously. Theoretical models from the normative literature point to (2) tax smoothing as the optimal strategy. Yet due to scarcity of empirical research, it is not clear whether that is what debt managers actually follow. In this positivist panel data analysis, I operationalize various strategies and apply the system GMM approach. Preliminary findings are that in 1980-2010, OECD debt managers have primarily followed strategies (1) and (3), in contrast to theoretical literature.

Can we predict the structure of matter? 

Mariana Rossi (SCR)

Read more >Atomistic computer simulations of matter based on solving quantum mechanical equations is an interdisciplinary area that touches physics, chemistry, and a part of biology. By calculating the electronic structure of an arrangement of atoms, and at the same time predicting the forces acting on the individual nuclei (which are themselves quantum particles), it is possible to calculate a range of properties of known and unknown materials and molecules in a computer. I will illustrate some of the successes of these theories, from predicting the properties of nanotechnological devices to the structural stability of small proteins and dynamics of water.