Professor Irving Lavin (1927–2019) was an art historian distinguished by his conviction that the study of the history of art was the study of the history of ideas. One of the ideas he found most exciting was that of the Institute for Advanced Study.
“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.”
Professor Irving Lavin was an art historian distinguished by his charismatic and challenging teaching, rigorous search for the relationship between form and meaning in the visual arts, and the conviction that the study of the history of art was the study of the history of ideas. He was renowned for his tenacious explorations of difficult subjects, and his willingness to see all the facets and possibilities of their solutions.
"The most influential ideas are ones that, in a way, are not attributed to the people who came up with them. They are assimilated. It seems like they were always there." Akshay Venkatesh discusses the foundational work of Atle Selberg and Hermann Weyl, the motivating mentorship of Peter Sarnak, and unexpected discoveries with Member Preston Wake in an interview with Bhāvanā Magazine.
"Bourgain lived and breathed mathematics. He would often show up at the IAS shortly before afternoon tea and work with collaborators until well past midnight.… His collaborators would often wake up to an e-mail from Bourgain sent at 4 a.m., containing the solution to a problem that, the night before, had seemed as if it would take weeks to crack.”
“The principles that animated the New Deal . . . included rights to employment, medical care, housing, education, and social security,” writes Daniel Aldana Cohen, Member in the School of Social Science, coauthor of a piece appearing in The Guardian that outlines five freedoms to guide economic and climate policy reforms.