Journal of Biosciences

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 221–228 | Cite as

Daniel Bernoulli (1738): evolution and economics under risk

  • Stephen C. Stearns


In this 300th anniversary of Daniel Bernoulli's birth, this essay traces the influence of one of his works usually regarded by mathematicians and physicists as too minor to mention. From this source has flowed much of our understanding of how to deal with risk in economics and evolution. The concepts introduced by Bernoulli help us to think about the evolution of reproductive lifespan, dormancy and diapause, sexual versus asexual reproduction, and population dynamics. In economics they form the foundation of portfolio and insurance theory. The 1738 paper was definitely not minor.


Reproductive Success Lyapunov Exponent Reproductive Effort Asexual Reproduction Negative Covariance 
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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen C. Stearns
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BaselZoology InstituteBaselSwitzerland

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