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Prof. Didier Sornette, Co-dean of Risks-X, Elected as the Member of the Academia Europaea in 2020

2020 / 07 / 31

Recently, as invited by Prof. Sierd Cloetingh, president of the Academia Europaea, Prof. Didier Sornette, the member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW), Co-dean and Chair Professor at Risks-X SUSTech and also Professor of Entrepreneurial Risks at the Department of Management, Technology and Economics at ETH Zurich, was elected as the member of the Academia Europaea in 2020.


Academia Europaea, founded in 1988 with its headquarter located in London, is a non-governmental association acting as an Academy, which was initiated by the Royal Society (UK) on the consensus reached by Arnold Burgen (UK), Hubert Curien (F), Umberto Columbo (ITA), David Magnusson (S), Eugen Seibold (Germany) and Ruud van Lieshout (NL) – the need for a new body that could express the ideas and opinions of individual scientists from across Europe. Its members include leading experts from the physical sciences and technology, biological sciences and medicine, mathematics, the letters and humanities, social and cognitive sciences, economics and the law; they are drawn from across the whole European continent, not only western Europe. Members also include European scholars who are resident in other regions of the world. Membership is by invitation only and follows a rigorous peer review selection process. Invitations are made only after peer group nomination, scrutiny and confirmation as to the scholarship and eminence of the individual in their chosen field. Election is confirmed by the Council of the Academia. Currently, membership stands at around 4,000. Amongst them are seventy-two Nobel Laureates, several of whom were elected to the Academia before they received the prize.


Prof. Didier Sornette is the member of the Academia Europaea, the member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences, Co-dean and Chair Professor at Risks-X SUSTech, a professor on the Chair of Entrepreneurial Risks at ETH Zurich and also Full Professor of Entrepreneurial Risks at the Department of Management, Technology and Economics at ETH Zurich. Moreover, he is director of the Financial Crisis Observatory, co-founder of the ETH Risk Center, member of the Swiss Finance Institute. He is also an Elected Fellow of the World Innovation Foundation (WIF) and was elected to the rank of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow (29 October 2013) for “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications”.

Prof. Didier Sornette is a specialist of large and extreme risks. He works on the prediction of complex systems, with applications to finance, economics and insurance as well as to material rupture, earthquakes, landslides and medicine. He put forward  the “dragon king theory”, describing rare and devastating statistical events caused by a snow ball effect that his work suggests can sometimes predicted; established  the Financial Crisis Observatory, monitoring over 20,000 kinds of financial assets globally in real time and successfully predicting market turbulences including three bubble crashes in Chinese stock market in 2007, 2009 and 2015, respectively, bubble of crude oil in 2008 and Swiss franc-Euro decoupling in 2011. He has published over 800 articles in international journals and 9 books, with 44,000 Google Scholar citations and 101 H-index. He worked as an expert consultant for aerospace industrial companies, banks, investment and reinsurance companies, including chief risk advisor at Bank of America, external expert at Los Alamos National Laboratories and member of the Board of the “Fondation d’entreprise SCOR pour la Science”.


Prof. Didier Sornette joined SUSTech in 2019 as a co-dean with Prof. Chen Xiaofei, the member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and departmental head of Earth and Space Sciences, to lead Risks-X (the Institute of Risk Analysis, Prediction & Management), one of the seven -X institutes of Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies. Risks-X was established by SUSTech in closed collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich, Switzerland). The Institute is committed to building a revolutionary dynamic risk management platform, with real-time and dynamically monitoring of extreme risks in various system applications, simulations of future scenarios, analysis and prediction of risk trends, in order to help our society develop strong resilience and improve social responsibility. The main research areas include financial and economic system risks, natural disasters, energy systems, epidemics and public health, critical infrastructure, social dynamics and big data, and blockchain and cyber-risks.