Writing for Nautilus, Robert Hackett tells the story of Nils Barricelli, the first theoretical biologist to come to the Institute. Barricelli came to IAS as a Member in 1952 to work on John von Neumann's Electronic Computer Project where, using punchcards, he simulated evolutionary processes using the computer that von Neumann built at IAS.
“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.”
The Strings 2019 conference held July 9–13, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium, featured talks with Director Robbert Dijkgraaf; School of Natural Sciences Professors Juan Maldacena, Edward Witten, Nima Arkani-Hamed, and Nathan Seiberg; and IAS scholars past and present.
Tracy Slatyer, Junior Visiting Professor (2018–19) and Member (2010–13) in the School of Natural Sciences, Thomas Hartman, Member (2010–13) in the School, and Lillian B. Pierce, von Neumann Fellow (2017–18) in the School of Mathematics, have been named recipients of the the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
Prospects in Theoretical Physics 2019 will convene scholars from 46 institutions and 22 countries for a two-week program on topics ranging from virology, cancer, and immunology to machine learning and neural networks, focusing on how the tools of modern physics enable novel approaches to biological questions.
The New Yorker reviews Democracy and Truth by former Member Sophia Rosenfeld: “Rosenfeld’s conclusion is sobering: even if the relationship between democracy and truth has long been vexed, the crisis facing Western democracies today is distinctly new.”
The Institute for Advanced Study ranks fourth in Nature's normalized analysis of the institutions that dominate research in the natural sciences, revealing those who are “punching above their weight in producing high-quality research.” The article cites as an example the cross-disciplinary analysis of ancient cemeteries led by Patrick J. Geary, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the School of Historical Studies.
I arrived at the Institute for Advanced Study in October 2003, after spending two years as a fellow at CERN in Geneva. . . . It became clear to me that biology was experiencing a revolutionary expansion, with large amounts of unexplored data and the urgent need for theoretical understanding.
We’re in pursuit of the invisible: mapping the elusive magnetic field between the stars. And the better we understand the magnetized interstellar medium, the better we will be able to peer back to the beginning of time.
Scott Tremaine, Richard Black Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, discusses our galaxy's black hole, Sagittarius A*, covering what we know, what we hope to learn, and the techniques being used to study this exotic object.