Long before they reached the required sensitivity to detect a merger of two neutron stars, the LIGO detectors observed a gravitational-wave signal from a black hole–black hole merger about one billion light years away.
"The dearth of lawmakers who bring a scientific perspective to national issues of energy, climate change, national security, and technology deeply concern me as a scientist and as an American," writes Rush Holt, Director's Visitor (2014–15) at the Institute and CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Steven Weinberg writes in the New York Review of Books of the weirdness of quantum mechanics. Its development in the first decades of the twentieth century came as a shock to many physicists, including those connected to IAS whose work contributed to its evolution––Albert Einstein, Neils Bohr, Boris Podolsky, Nathan Rosen, and Lawrence Krauss. Today, despite the great successes of quantum mechanics, arguments continue about its meaning, and its future.
From its first usage in 1871 by anti-clerical campaigners, the word laïcité has been a polemical term; then it was aimed at ending the public power of the Catholic Church, now it is used to define a Frenchness that excludes Muslims.
I got the telephone call at 7:45 a.m. the next morning that Sergei Magnitsky had been murdered. . . . I thought they had to do something. Instead, Putin circled the wagons, exonerated every single person involved, and gave state honors and promotions to the people most complicit. It became obvious we wouldn’t get justice in Russia, so we decided to get justice outside of Russia.
Robert D. Hough, Member (2015–16) in the School of Mathematics, received the David P. Robbins Prize for novel research in algebra and combinatorics. His paper, “Solution of minimum modulus for covering systems,” published in Annals of Mathematics, provides proof for a problem introduced by Paul Erdös, Member (1938–39, 1939–40) in the School of Mathematics, in the 1930s.
Topologists are fond of saying that they cannot distinguish a doughnut from a coffee mug. In the lingo, they are homeomorphic, which may be demonstrated by deforming one to the other if they were made of clay.