The Institute Letter Summer 2011

The above photograph (ca. 1958) of Marston Morse (1892–1977), Professor in the School of Mathematics, and his wife Louise is a rare image from one of two albums compiled by Louise Morse over seven decades. It is unusual in that it includes Louise...

The stability of the solar system is one of the oldest problems in theoretical physics, dating back to Isaac Newton. After Newton discovered his famous laws of motion and gravity, he used these to determine the motion of a single planet around ...

The ancients thought that space and time were preexisting entities on which motion happens. Of course, this is also our naive intuition. According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, we know that this is not true. Space and time are dynamical objects whose shape is modified by the bodies that move in it.

I sometimes like to think about what it might be like inside a black hole. What does that even mean? Is it really “like” anything inside a black hole? Nature keeps us from ever knowing. (Well, what we know for sure is that nature keeps us from...

Karl Marx linked the structure of production to the formation of institutions. According to Marx, religion is like any other social institution in that it is dependent upon the economic realities of a given society, i.e., it is an outcome of its...

­­The security of a nation and the safety of its population versus the protection of constitutional liberties and human rights is a quandary that arose in the aftermath of 9/11, but it is not novel to the twenty-first century. Discrimination...

I was at the Institute for the academic year 1971–72 as Research Assistant to Clifford Geertz. This was prior to the establishment of the School of Social Science in 1973, so the number of social scientists was only a handful, including myself,...

Albert O. Hirschman became a permanent Faculty member of the Institute in 1974, moving from Harvard’s economics department to join Clifford Geertz in the creation of the School of Social Science. By then, Hirschman was not just famous for his...

I remember fondly the two years I spent at IAS working with Steve Adler on the experimental implications of unified field theories of elementary particle interactions. We also tackled a very hard problem that still is unsolved—how to reconcile...

I have spent three periods of time in residency at IAS, and I am looking forward to a fourth in the spring of 2012. In 1979–80, one of the first special years in mathematics at IAS took place, organized by S. T. Yau, who shortly afterwards...

The time I spent at the School of Social Science was an invaluable intellectual and professional experience. As a junior scholar, my immersion in the rich, interdisciplinary environment at IAS definitively shaped the subsequent course of my...

For me, being a Member of the School of Historical Studies in 2002–03 was the best sort of retreat. I had been working on my second book, Romulus’ Asylum: Roman Identities from the Age of Alexander to the Age of Hadrian

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