The Institute Letter Fall 2012

The radical nature of Flexner’s twinning of science and humanism with truth and beauty arose in part from the radical nature of his concept for a ‘modern’ university by which he meant a university devoted exclusively to the pursuit of higher learning for its own sake and without regard to practical value.

The Evolution of Cooperation is the title of a book by Robert Axelrod. It was published by Basic Books in 1984, and became an instant classic. It set the style in which modern scientists think about biological evolution, reducing the...

Human beings have waged war or engaged in violent conflict with each other since ancient times, an observation that prompted a Member at the Institute to suggest in the course of a casual conversation that surely it was a waste of time and...

It is known that mathematicians see beauty in mathematics. Many mathematicians are motivated to find the most beautiful proof, and often they refer to mathematics as a form of art. They are apt to say “What a beautiful theorem,” “Such an elegant...

It is indeed an endless cycle of imagination and concentration, of divergence and convergence, of playing and thinking that deter­mines the rhythm of science and scholarship. The Institute is devoted to creating and sup­porting these experiences and the resulting, often surprising, advancements in knowledge.

 

Until a couple of decades ago, the only planets we knew existed were the nine in our Solar System. In the last twenty-five years, we’ve lost one of the local ones (Pluto, now classified as a “minor planet”) and gained about three thousand...

In recent years, the trafficking of women and children into the sex sector has become the focus of a steady spate of media coverage, the subject of abundant policy interventions, and the target of local, national, and transnational activist...

My work uses the international response to piracy, both historical and contemporary, to assess the effectiveness of international criminal law and co­operation. Recent decades have witnessed the unprecedented growth of international criminal law...

When I arrived at the Institute last September, I thought I knew exactly what I would accomplish as a Member in the School of Historical Studies—I would complete my book, Extreme Exoticism: Japan in the American Musical Imagination, and...