Didier Sornette Zurich, Switzerland

  • Professor of Entrepreneurial Risks, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) (2006-present)
  • Director, Financial Crisis Observatory (2008-present)
  • Co-founder, ETH Risk Center (2011)


TEDtalk: How we can predict the next financial crisis (2013)
TEDtalk: How we can predict the next financial crisis (2013)
Pop Tech! Predicting Risk (2012)
Pop Tech! Predicting Risk (2012)
Approaches to Risk & Predictability (2014)
Approaches to Risk & Predictability (2014)


Prof. Dr. Didier Sornette explores data patterns to help predict crises and extreme events in complex systems, like global financial crises. Since March 2006, Didier has been a Professor of Entrepreneurial Risks at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich). Concurrently, he is Director of the Financial Crisis Observatory, a project to test the hypothesis that markets can be predictable, especially during bubbles.

He has introduced the concept of Dragon-Kings, an extension of the king effect, a theory to predict crises such as economic bubbles, social disruptions, engineering failures, epileptic seizures and more. In 2004, he used Amazon.com sales data to create a mathematical model for predicting best-seller potential based on very early sales results.

He is the author and co-author of over 500 research papers, as well as books such as “Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems” (Princeton University Press, 2004), in which he proposes a simple, powerful, and general theory of how, why, and when stock markets crash.

In 2013, Didier was elected to the rank of AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Fellow for “ scientifically or socially distinguished efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications”. He is noted for pioneering and novel developments in the prediction of crises and extreme events in complex systems, with particular applications to risk assessment in economics and technology.

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