Some people have compared playing the stock market to horseracing, which would suggest that being a winner calls for either praying hard and often or studying the stock tables closely. Marek Fludzinski, founder and CEO of Thales Fund Management, said a better idea is to study physics.

"Physics is really about trying to model the world and about when to make approximations," said Fludzinski, who earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Princeton University. "Since trading isn't just driven by physical laws, but also by psychology, modeling to the fourth significant figure isn't relevant, and physicists are good at figuring that out."

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