I got a fair number of answers to the question of what single sentence would best pass on the essence of quantitative finance to the future, assuming all knowledge had been destroyed.
I have two winners in a tie:
1.” In quantitative finance there’s arbitrage and diversification – the rest are details.” by Athletico on the Wilmott forum;
(I suspect it should be “the rest IS details” but I’m not taking points off for grammar.)
2. “Time and the right to choose have value” by Marcos Carreira.
Both of them are kind of crisp and accurate, though whether anyone could really recreate anything from one sentence is questionable, but that’s my fault.
If Athletico and Carreira send me their physical addresses, I’ll send them each a prize.
Honors for originality goes to Zeta: “Money talks, and BS (prices options on random) walks.”
Honors and thank to ‘farmer’ for putting an end to the future of quantitative finance:
“After correlation trading has smoothed the arrival of new information, residual uncertainty in the value of an asset can be summarized and communicated as a location on one or two axes which the majority of participants will have only slight disagreements about, and so a standard dollar value and other practices can be mapped to or associated with each location.”
The rest are history.