The Fatal Equilibrium is a novel by Marshall Jevons. Set in the intellectual enclave of Harvard University, we get an inside look at the Liberal Arts college's "Promotion and Tenure" committee. The committee must decide which professors receive tenure - essentially a guarantee of a lifetime at Harvard yard. But the deliberations of the committee are interrupted by a series of murders. Why are these people dying?

The sleuth, naturally, is the University's leading economics professor, Henry Spearman. Naturally, he's going to explain how he solved the mystery. But can you uncover the answer before Dr. Spearman does?

[Hint: Review your answer (assuming it was the correct answer!) to question number two on the Heyne chapter seven quiz.]

The Test
You will be tested on the novel on Wednesday, November 30th. The test is in three parts.

  • Jeopardy style questions presented in a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Identification of quotations and economic principles.
  • Matching (names with jobs at Harvard) and multiple choice identifications.

Take a look at these sample questions. (PowerPoint or html)
Or review the questions we went over in class. (PowerPoint or PDF) New!

Although you will have to write out the names of characters, you will be given a list of names of people (some real and some fictional) who appear in the novel.

Your Preparation
I recommend reading the novel. Many have tried passing this test without reading the novel, but none have succeeded.

As you read, keep notes on the characters and mentioned names on the Fatal Equilibrium Names Worksheet (Word or PDF). You should also note major plot points, such as who gets murdered and how. You will be asked about most of the economists mentioned in the novel, so know what they are known for.

Here are some other preparation aides, one prepared by another AP teacher and the other by a university professor.

Question set 1: Word (password required)

Question set 2: Word or PDF