The external seminar at La Trobe

I got a chance to meet Dr Eric Nævdal (Princeton Uni and FRISCH Centre) in a talk on “Climate change, catastrophic risk and the pure rate of time preference” yesterday at La Trobe Uni. Well, I can say that he was not a great presenter, but an excellent researcher in all senses. Moreover, his spirit has inspired me a lot in this hard time. Let’s recap several key points here, they might work with some of you too.

An impressive metaphor when he compared the world and climate change thresholds to a person running to the edge of a cliff. The faster he runs, the more money he will get paid, but the higher possibility that he will fall (“turn over” was actually the word he used). The idea is simple but his model is so complicated that I could not fully understand without reviewing “Hazard rate” and “Optimal control models”. Then the message conveyed is different discount rate could change your decision on when to stop and the benefit you have. Reversely, if you know where the cliff is (know time t), the discount rate turns out not really matter anymore. Basically, those are all key points I found interesting in the 1 hour talk 🙂

An inspiration when he said if you feel PhD is easy then perhaps you should not do PhD, or you have chosen a wrong school.

A surprised moment (well, for me only) when he and Liam talked about how to get to external seminars like this. Literally, just email the seminar organizers and if you happen to be somewhere near, they will happy to pay for your fare. It’s a good way to extend your trip and at the same time spread out your research result.

And an admiring feeling from everyone when he shared his passion of doing research. Not polished but realistic, not many words but fast thinking and great word choice.

He said, to be a professor at Princeton, you have to be a super freaking genius but to be a lecturer there, you could be just good at your field. But I find that he is on the way to the genius.

Well, perhaps I should at least keep going up 🙂

P/S: Journal of Environmental Economics and Management is a tough one but great to light your profile up in searching for job