The Institute Letter Spring 2013

Few historical questions have so fascinated historians as the fall of the Roman Empire or, in the more fashionable modern parlance, its “transformation” into something altogether different, namely independent kingdoms ruled by successors of...

From the data, you have this remnant of a real object that you want to resurrect. Before you can start to do that, the first thing you need to know is, is it really coming from such and such an object? Are there some good tests or signatures for that?

I was in my final year of graduate school, writing a dissertation on the place of persuasion in the success of contemporary American social movements, when the nearly two-year-long campaign for the American president who would succeed George W....

Following the discovery in July of a Higgs-like boson—an effort that took more than fifty years of experimental work and more than 10,000 scientists and engineers working on the Large Hadron Collider—Juan Maldacena and Nima Arkani-Hamed, two...

John Brockman, founder and proprietor of the Edge website, asks a question every New Year and invites the public to answer it. THE EDGE QUESTION 2012 was, “What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation?” He...

For a long time time, I have had a profound interest in studying “higher order structures” of various kinds. What is a higher order object? I will not here attempt to give a definition, but rather illustrate by examples what I have in mind....

In many different ways, 1953 was an exciting year. In February–March, at the Cavendish Lab in Cambridge, England, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA molecules and its double-helix geometry. This discovery was announced...

Julian Himely Bigelow, who joined the IAS Electronic Computer Project as Chief Engineer in March of 1946, was appointed to a Permanent Membership in the School of Mathematics in December 1950 and remained a Member of the School of Natural...

Many things are awesome, but none more awesome than man. — Sophocles

Every once in a while, we experience something extraordinary. Such “awesome” experiences might happen in research, when we unexpectedly discover something really...

In June 2012, an early work by Erwin Panofsky (1892–1968) was found in an armored cabinet in the basement of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich. The study, “Die Gestaltungsprincipien Michelangelos, Besonders in ihrem Verhältnis zu...

The study of cinematic representations of ancient history is one of the most rapidly rising fields of classical scholarship. As an important part of the modern reception of classical antiquity, movies inspired by Greek and Roman myth and history...