In his review of the recent books by Smolin and Woit on the status of string theory, David Lindley writes: (see www.wilsoncenter.org…):
“The problem with string mania, Smolin concludes, is that it suits the wrong kind of mentality. He makes a nice distinction between scientific seers– people such as Einstein and Niels Bohr, his heroes, who deeply pondered the working of nature and were by no means brilliant mathematicians– and craftspeople, who are enormously adept at intricate calculation but don’t seem to think much about the larger meaning of their ingenious manipulations. Seers are always in short supply, and the technical demands of mastering string theory are such that would-be researchers of a more philosophical stripe can rarely meet the price of entry.”
I like to think that much the same thing applies to quantitative finance: we need more (flashes of) insight and less mathematical manipulation if we are to make major advances.