Ideas 2017–18

April 26, 2018 | 1:00 – 5:00pm
Join the Institute in celebrating Ideas 2017–18 with Clay CordovaEdward Witten, Shatema Threadcraft, Didier Fassin, Ian Jauslin, Thomas Spencer, Kathleen Coleman, and Angelos Chaniotis, on topics ranging from topology and physics to black death. The event concludes with a panel featuring Robbert DijkgraafNicola Di Cosmo, Johan Heilbron, June Huh, and Scott Tremaine. This event is open only to the IAS community and Friends of the Institute. Registration required.


IAS Founders on America and Higher Learning

“We feel strongly that the spirit characteristic of America at its noblest, above all the pursuit of higher learning, cannot admit of any conditions as to personnel other than those designed to promote the objects for which this institution is established, and particularly with no regard whatever to accidents of race, creed, or sex.”

Public Lecture: The Cool Alter-Ego of a Black Hole

May 4, 2018 | 5:30 – 7:00pm
Black holes are fascinating objects predicted by the general theory of relativity. Quantum mechanics implies that they are not completely black. In this public talk, Juan Maldacena and Douglas Stanford will explain and review these results, discussing, as an example, how information sent using teleportation translates into a trip through a wormhole connecting two black holes.


Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography through Letters

By Freeman J. Dyson

Boston, 1 November, 1948 — “After my last letter to you I decided that what I needed was a long week-end away from Princeton, and so I persuaded Cécile Morette to come with me to see Feynman at Ithaca. This was a bold step on my part, but it could not have been more successful and the weekend was just deliriously happy…”


The Virtues of Violence: Amphitheatres, Gladiators, and the Roman System of Values

By Kathleen Mary Coleman

Why did the violent spectacles of the Roman ampihitheatre—from gladiatorial combat and beast displays to staged executions—persist for more than 700 years?

Didier Fassin Receives NOMIS Distinguished Scientist Award

April 20, 2018
Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, is the first social scientist to receive the award, which is presented to exceptional scientists in support of their exploration of unconventional academic paths. Fassin will use the award grant, nearly $2 million over five years, to implement a project that will analyze contemporary crises from a global perspective.

How Could Machines Learn as Efficiently as Animals and Humans?

By Yann LeCun

There has been a bit of a revolution in the last few years in what we now call artificial intelligence. . . . Although we haven’t yet figured out how the brain learns, we have been able to reproduce some aspects of it. 

History, Climate, and the New Past

By Nicola Di Cosmo

Seen in the light of the antiquarian precedent, there is reason to believe that the contribution of the sciences of the past to historical research can help produce new histories. Yet, a word of caution is required.