Public Events

Throughout the academic year, the Institute offers a range of events that are open to the public, including lectures by Faculty from each of the four Schools and guest speakers, and concerts and talks as part of the Edward T. Cone Concert Series. Please check this site throughout the year for new events as they are announced. To receive updates on IAS events by email, sign up for IAS eNews, the Institute’s monthly electronic newsletter. Videos of previous events may be found at the Institute’s video page.

Public Lecture: Climate, Conflict and Historical Method
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Nicola Di Cosmo, Luce Foundation Professor in East Asian Studies, School of Historical Studies
Wolfensohn Hall

On Friday, May 2, Nicola Di Cosmo, Luce Foundation Professor in East Asian Studies in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, will give a public lecture, Climate, Conflict, and Historical Method, at 5:30 p.m. in Wolfensohn Hall. Di Cosmo will discuss how historians can contribute to investigating the relationships between climate change, ecology and human activity. In addition to searching for anthropogenic climate change, scientific research is making available volumes of data on the possible correlations between environmental change and social transformations over long periods of time. Yet, how strong and how precise a correlation one might be able to establish between phenomena like droughts, floods and volcanic eruptions and the emergence of conflict, the migration of peoples or the collapse of civilizations, remain open questions.

While research in environmental history addresses some of these issues, historians have been hesitant about attributing the causes of human crises and catastrophes to natural events, and wary of introducing scientific data in historical interpretations. Di Cosmo’s recent research addresses issues related to the impact of climate events on East Asian history, with a special focus on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.  One of the critical aspects of this study is the gulf between how science and history construct causal relations in the explanation of historical events presumably related to climate and environmental change. In this lecture, taking a cue from recent publications, Di Cosmo will examine methodological issues involved in the historical examination of the relationship between climate change and warfare, conflicts, the rise of empires and the fall of dynasties. 

For more information please visit

Public Lecture: (dis)honesty
Friday, May 9, 2014 - 5:00pm
Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics and former Member (2005-07) in School of Social Science
Wolfensohn Hall
In this lecture, Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and former Member (2005–07) in the School of Social Science, will discuss how the principles of behavioral economics can help us understand some of our irrational tendencies, specifically the mechanisms at work behind dishonest behavior. According to Ariely, one of the most interesting lessons is understanding our capacity to think of ourselves as honest even when we act dishonestly. Ariely will examine how the implications of this research are far reaching and include a better understanding of the most recent financial crisis and some of the challenges in healthcare.
This lecture is sponsored by the Association of Members of the Institute for Advanced Study (AMIAS). 
For more information please visit