The Institute Letter Summer 2013

On the evening of November 11, 1572, twenty-six-year-old astronomer Tycho Brahe was about to make a discovery that would change his life and consequentially boost the scientific revolution significantly. While casually staring at the night sky,...

In 2012–13, the Institute’s School of Mathematics hosted a special year devoted to the topic “Univalent Foundations of Mathematics,” organized by Steve Awodey, Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Thierry Coquand, Professor at the University...

I should admit at the outset to a guilty conscience. I should have been a physicist (it was my best subject), but around the age of fifteen was converted to the humanities by an enthusiastic English teacher who had been a professional actor....

College campuses struggle with how to think and talk about diversity of all kinds, a struggle that has gone on for more than two decades now. Every year, there are stories from around the country about anonymous hate speech and offensive theme...

Although I came to the Institute to research twentieth-century African-American and Jewish-American fiction, I would actually like to share with you a formative experience I have had as a parent. It all began in 2005, when my oldest child was...

The following text is excerpted from the introduction to the book Homotopy Type Theory: Univalent Foundations of Mathematics, written jointly by the participants of the special year on univalent foundations, which may be obtained at...

Since spring, and even before that, I have participated in a great collaborative effort to write a book on homotopy type theory. It is finally finished and ready for pub­lic consumption. You can get the book freely at http://homotopytypetheory....

Pluto, the ninth planet in our solar system1 was discovered in 1930, the same year the Institute was founded. While the Institute hosted more than five thousand members in the following sixty-five years, not a single new planet was...

The story of the “data explosion” is by now a familiar one: throughout science, engineering, commerce, and government, we are collecting and storing data at an ever-increasing rate. We can hardly read the news or turn on a computer without...

In the public lecture “The Latest News from the Cosmos,” Matias Zaldarriaga, Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, explores the most detailed map of the infant universe to date. Publicly released on March 21, 2013, the...

There are glimpses of truths that don’t immediately make sense, that are puzzles, that we see only vaguely from a distance, or that we can see just one facet of, and they may remain puzzles for our lifetimes and several more after; we may only catch a dim impression, a shadow of what they imply.

Women’s rights have come a long way since the beginning of the twentieth century. Before that, if a European or American woman were married, her husband owned the wages she might earn and controlled any property or inheritance she might bring....

Besides Rome itself, there are principally two cities in Roman Italy that vie for the attention of both scholars and the public at large: Ostia and Pompeii. The latter is known for its tragic end in the volcanic eruption of 79 C.E., for...

Freedom is a powerful incentive to do the best we can. As I can attest from examples in my own work, it sometimes leads to dead ends, but that is a small price to pay.