75th Anniversary Celebrations in 2005

The Institute for Advanced Study, one of the world's leading centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry, marked in 2005 the 75th anniversary of its founding in 1930. In addition to the 75th anniversary, the Institute celebrated the centenary of Albert Einstein’s annus mirabilis of 1905, when he published his seminal papers on Special Relativity, Brownian motion and the photoelectric effect. Einstein (1879-1955) was one of the Institute’s first Faculty members, serving from 1933 until his death in 1955, and played a significant part in its early development.

Throughout 2005, the Institute marked its milestone anniversary with a range of events that celebrated the work of its four Schools – Historical Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Social Science – as well as its founders and Einstein.

Following is a listing of the 75th anniversary events that occurred on the campus of the Institute for Advanced Study:

The School of Mathematics - March 11-12

The series of lectures organized by the School of Mathematics featured some of the world's leading mathematicians, all of whom have been Members or Visitors of the Institute:

Friday, March 11

Peter Sarnak, Princeton University and the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
"Number Theory, Symmetry and Zeta Functions"

Avi Wigderson, Institute for Advanced Study
"Randomness, Games and Computers"

George Dyson
"Veblen's Circle: Early Years of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study"

Saturday, March 12

Sir Michael Atiyah, University of Edinburgh
"Solitons and Symmetry"

Raoul Bott, Harvard University

Weinan E, Princeton University
"A Mathematical Theory of Solids -- from Atomic to Macroscopic Scales"

Friedrich Hirzebruch, Bonn University
"My Joint Work with Armand Borel from 1952 to 1954"

Peter Ozsváth, Columbia University and University of California at Berkeley
"Heegaard Diagrams and Holomorphic Disks"

To view video and slides of the presentation, please click here.

 


 

The School of Historical Studies - April 8-9

On Friday, April 8, the School of Historical Studies presented a symposium on The Matter of History that featured a special multimedia presentation entitled Text, Space & Object. It was chaired by Sir John Elliott, Regius Professor Emeritus of Modern History at Oxford University, and former Professor, Institute for Advanced Study.

This presentation explored the diversity of materials from which history has to be recovered and interpreted. Texts, in the form of books, manuscripts, and inscriptions, are only part of the historian's repertoire. The interaction of space and object were exemplified through early modern maps, medieval relics and processions, the Great Wall of China, and the architecture of Saddam Hussein's Baghdad. Documentary footage exposed the deliberations that lay beneath the surface of great historical events such as the Cuban missile crisis. The presentation placed the Institute itself among the materials of history, with particular reference to J. Robert Oppenheimer and the creation of the atom bomb. The fragility of history-the polyvalence of text, space, and object as well as history's susceptibility to manipulation or fraud-makes the necessity of getting it right all the more difficult and important. The future depends upon what we think and say about the past.

To view video and slides of the presentation, please click here.

On Saturday, April 9, the School organized a series of interactive seminars, arranged in pairs:

IA. The Vulnerability of History 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Led by Professor Heinrich von Staden and Fritz Stern, University Professor Emeritus and former Provost at Columbia University, and former Member, on the misuse and corruption of historical evidence

IB. Fraud & Forgery 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Led by Professor Glen Bowersock and Professor Patricia Crone, with special attention to the ban on tomb-robbery in Palestine at the time of the Resurrection of Christ, and the notoriously anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion

IIA. Intellectual Rebels 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Led by Professor Jonathan Israel and Kinch Hoekstra, Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford University, and current Member, on outsiders in the Enlightenment

IIB. Hidden People 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m
Led by Professor Caroline Bynum and Robert Darnton, Professor of History at Princeton University and former Member, on issues of gender, class, and sex in European History

IIIA. Museums & Great Collections   9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Led by Professor Emeritus Oleg Grabar and Henri Zerner, Professor at Harvard University, Curator in the Fogg Art Museum, and former Member, on the ideological and nationalist motivation for the creation of museums and major collections

IIIB. National History   11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m
Led by Professor Nicola Di Cosmo and Bernard Haykel, Professor of Near Eastern Studies at New York University and former Member, with particular attention to East Asia and the Middle East

 


 

Founders Day – Friday, May 20

On Friday, May 20, the Institute had its Founders Day, which featured a celebration of the 75th anniversary of its founding and the centenary of Albert Einstein's annus mirabilis. A highlight of this special day was the dedication of a new sculpture , now situated next to the Institute pond, by noted artist Elyn Zimmerman. Dedicated to the achievements in science and scholarship of the Institute for Advanced Study, the sculpture was made possible through the generosity of Institute Trustee Robert B. Menschel.

State and local officials came to the Institute to celebrate these milestones, and each spoke about the importance and vitality of the Institute and presented proclamations to Institute Director Peter Goddard. Participants in the ceremony were Princeton Mayor Phyllis Marchand; Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes; New Jersey Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman; Institute Director Peter Goddard; Institute Trustee Robert B. Menschel; and artist Elyn Zimmerman.

There were lectures throughout the day by Institute Faculty and Members, as well as special guest scholars, and over 350 people attended to learn about the Institute and its history, Einstein and the Institute, Einstein's major discoveries of 1905 and his relationship to the world at large.

Following are the lectures that took place on May 20:

Philip Argyres, "Special Relativity"
In 1905 Einstein wrote two papers on special relativity. This talk explained them in non-technical terms, including the origin of the famous formula E=mc2.

Simeon Hellerman, "Brownian Motion and the Atomic Theory"
In 1905, Einstein wrote a paper interpreting the zig-zagging motion of particles of pollen suspended in liquid as evidence for the existence of atoms. This talk described Einstein's paper, the experimental results on which it was based, and the conceptual shift it caused in the realm of microscopic physics, promoting the idea of atoms from an abstract way of describing the phenomenon of heat to a concrete fact about the microscopic structure of matter.

Graham Kribs, "The Photoelectric Effect"
Einstein's first paper in 1905 proposed that light comes in discrete quanta, or particles, successfully predicting the photoelectric effect. This paper began the long road to the quantum revolution of the 1920s and its metamorphosis into modern-day particle physics.

Stephen L. Adler, "Einstein and Quantum Mechanics: A Love-Hate Relationship"
This talk first briefly described Einstein's further contributions to quantum mechanics, specifically, his deduction of the rules of the interaction of matter with radiation from an analysis of the Planck radiation formula. Then it covered Einstein's estrangement from quantum mechanics, the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paper, and recent applications of related ideas to both quantum cryptography and the Bell inequalities.

Peter Goddard, "The Founding of the Institute for Advanced Study"
When Louis Bamberger and his sister Carrie decided to use part of the fortune that they had amassed from the success of Bamberger’s department store in Newark to found a medical school in that city, they consulted Abraham Flexner, then the leading expert on medical education. Flexner not only told them that their idea was misconceived, he also told them of his own dream, an institute for advanced study.

George Dyson, "Einstein and the Institute"
The last 25 years in the life of Einstein were the first 25 years in the life of the Institute. Einstein's presence helped establish (and still embodies) the concept of a refuge where unencumbered scholarship and statesmanship could find a permanent home.

Peter Paret, "Einstein, Freud, and their Pamphlet "Why War?" "
The talk outlined the unusual collaboration Einstein initiated with Freud, and discussed its place in their lives and in the history of the 1930s.

Joan Scott, "Einstein’s Politics"
In addition to his scientific work, and in part in connection to it, Einstein took a number of outspoken political positions during his life. He was a pacifist (though he thought it necessary to wage war against Hitler's Germany), an internationalist, and a strong advocate for academic freedom. Although his critics often dismissed his positions as dangerous at worst and naive at best, in fact those positions were carefully thought out and deeply rooted. In the realm of politics, Einstein was a man who had the courage of his convictions.

Michael Walzer, "Einstein and Zionism"
The talk described Einstein's engagement with Zionism from about 1920 until his death--both his support for the movement and his criticism of it.

Peter Galison, "The Assassin of Relativity"
From the time they were students together at the Zurich Polytechnic, Albert Einstein was good friends with Friedrich Adler, the son of the leader of the Socialist Party in Vienna. Like Einstein, he was a physicist very much engaged with both epistemology and politics. Then, in the midst of World War I, on 21 October 1916, Adler assassinated the Prime Minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Einstein rallied to his defense and, between death row and Berlin, Adler and Einstein began an extraordinary correspondence about the meaning and validity of relativity. This presentation was an exploration of the heady mix of psychoanalysis, politics, physics and philosophy that followed -- as the world stumbled deeper into war -- and began grappling with the import of relativity.

 


 

The School of Natural Sciences - September 23-24

The lectures organized by the School of Natural Sciences featured topics ranging from string theory to biometrics. Many of the speakers were Institute Faculty and/or past Members, and were invited to speak on areas of study actively pursued by the School.

Friday, September 23

Robbert Dijkgraaf, University of Amsterdam
The Quantum Geometry of String Theory

Joseph J. Atick, Identix Incorporated
The Science and Politics of Managing Human Identity

Arnold J. Levine, Institute for Advanced Study
Surfing the Human Genome for Genetic Predispositions to Cancer

David Spergel, Princeton University
The New Cosmology

Peter Goldreich, Institute for Advanced Study
Extrasolar Planets

Saturday, September 24

Brian Greene, Columbia University
Unification and String Theory

 


 

The School of Social Science - November 11-12

The School of Social Science hosted a series of lectures featuring the School's Faculty and other distinguished scholars. Filling Wolfensohn Hall were current and past Members, as well as members from the Institute community and the public.

Friday, November 11

Social Science and the Contemporary World
A series of short lectures by Faculty of the School of Social Science

Michael Walzer, UPS Foundation Professor, Institute for Advanced Study
National Liberation and Religious Revival

Professor Walzer discussed the revival of religion in countries such as India, Israel, and Algeria, states that have been established by secular national liberation movements. He will raise questions about the cultural reproduction of secular politics.

Eric S. Maskin, Albert O. Hirschman Professor, Institute for Advanced Study
Auction Theory in Practice

In 2003, the U.K. Government ran an "auction" whose participants were British companies and whose purpose was to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. In this lecture, Professor Maskin considered some of the theoretical ideas behind this auction.

Joan Wallach Scott, Harold F. Linder Professor, Institute for Advanced Study
Balancing Equality and Difference

Professor Scott discussed the ways in which demands for the recognition of group difference (by women, ethnic and religious groups, and homosexuals) have posed a major challenge to countries (France will be the primary example) in which cultural sameness or assimilation to a single cultural standard have been considered the best guarantee of equality.

Saturday, November 12

Focus on the School of Social Science’s 2005-2006 theme, “Psychology and Economics”

Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University
Recent Advances in the Study of Well-Being

Roland J. M. Benabou, Princeton University
Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics

International surveys reveal wide differences among the views held in different countries concerning the causes of wealth or poverty and the extent to which people are responsible for their own fate. At the same time, social ethnographies and experiments by psychologists demonstrate individuals' recurrent struggle with the cognitive dissonance often required to maintain, and pass on to their children, a view of the world where effort ultimately pays off and everyone gets their just deserts. This talk described how such non-standard phenomena can be integrated into an economic model that helps explain: i) why most people feel such a need to believe in a "just world"; ii) why this need, and therefore the prevalence of the belief, varies across countries; iii) the implications for international differences in political ideology, levels of redistribution, labor supply, aggregate income, and popular perceptions of the poor. The talk outlined how similar mechanisms may underlie other collective beliefs and motivated cognitions, including those concerning "money" (consumption) and happiness, as well as certain aspects of religion.