Dean Close was pleased to welcome Martin Cox, Director of the John Locke Institute, to talk to Lower Sixth pupils about “Mathematics in Game Theory”. Martinis a graduate and former lecturer at the University of Oxford, where he taught economics to PPE and E&M students.

Game Theory, the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation to determine behaviour such as decision making, is relevant across a myriad of areas. Martin covered some fascinating areas such as Game Theory in military warfare. He explained how the theory was largely responsible for preventing nuclear attacks in the Cold War, by stopping the world from going MAD. Mutual Assured Destruction or MAD is a military strategy and national security policy which recognises that use of weapons of mass destruction by two or more opposing sides, would result in the obliteration of both the attacker and defender. Thus, preventing utter devastation during the conflict.

Martin also explained to the budding economists among the group, that the theory provides valuable insights into potential choices of others and therefore greatly improves strategic decision-making. As such the philosophy lends itself to commercial capacities and is increasingly exercised in business and economics.

Another handy tip on calculating the probability of pupils getting into their top choice university was also of great interest to the soon to be undergraduates.

The talk was illuminating for all, even those not mathematically inclined among the group, as it covered such a range of possibilities.