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Nicholas Academic Centers lecture series opens with Professors Smith and Wilson

January 26, 2011

Turning economics lessons into fun learning games is nothing new for ESI scholars. Photo/Jeffrey Kirchner

Nobel Laureate Vernon L. Smith, Ph.D., and his colleague, Bart Wilson, Ph.D., of Chapman University’s Economic Science Institute will be the first speakers in the 2011 segment of the Nicholas Academic Centers’ “Visiting Scholar Series.” The two will speak to high school students on Saturday, Jan. 29 from 9 a.m. to noon in the Centers’ Annex at 313 N. Birch Street, 2nd floor, Santa Ana.

Dr. Smith, known as the “founding father of economic science,” will discuss the basic tenets of the discipline he founded and for which he was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics. Economic science – also known as experimental economics — uses laboratory experiments to research why markets and other exchange systems work the way they do.

In addition, there will be experiments of economic theory in the guise of games. Dr. Wilson will assist Dr. Smith in carrying out sample experiments with the students, using the Economic Science Institute’s portable laboratory.

The series is designed to introduce high school students from underserved communities in Santa Ana to the life of higher education, while strengthening ties with highly respected local universities.

“We are honored to have someone of Vernon Smith’s intellect and stature share his insights with our students,” said Dr. Henry Nicholas, co-founder and former CEO of Broadcom Corp., who partnered in 2007 with retired Superior Court Judge Jack Mandel to establish the Nicholas Academic Centers. “Hearing his story of founding a new field of study will make students realize they can accomplish anything they set their minds to. We want to challenge NAC students to set ambitious goals, and then push themselves to achieve these goals.”

In the first segment of lectures from last September though the end of the year, NAC students heard Chapman professors discuss a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from the origins of mathematics to indigenous cultures. The university has committed to continuing the series in 2011, beginning with the appearance by Drs. Smith and Wilson.

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