The Institute Letter Fall 2021

Read articles by and featuring IAS scholars and scientists exploring the intertwining architecture of Rubenstein Commons; puzzling galaxies devoid of dark matter; and the intellectual journey of Polish mathematician Stanislaw Ulam (1909–84). Meet the Institute’s new Director and Leon Levy Professor David Nirenberg and Wendy Brown, UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Social Science. Also included are Q&As with Zachariah Cherian Mampilly, Member in the School of Social Science, and Nadia Zakamska, Member in the School of Natural Sciences.

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The Institute for Advanced Study distributed $21,742.50 in stipends for mathematics and $10,000 for theoretical physics during the academic year 1935–36. Three hundred dollars, sufficient to secure entry to the United States, was awarded to the Polish mathematician Stanislaw Ulam (1909–84), who had written to John von Neumann about a problem in measure theory in 1934.

The new Rubenstein Commons building at the Institute for Advanced Study, designed by Steven Holl Architects, stands in stark contrast to the explicitly functionalist forms of other modern buildings on campus: the Member housing, designed by Marcel Breuer, or even the welcoming but austere (what’s known as “brutalist”) spaces of the dining hall, designed by Robert Geddes.

*Update (01/14/22): David Nirenberg to become IAS Director on February 1, 2022

The Institute for Advanced Study has appointed David Nirenberg as its 10th Director and Leon Levy Professor, effective July 1, 2022*. Currently dean of the Divinity School at the University of Chicago and professor of medieval history, Nirenberg will assume leadership of one of the world’s preeminent centers for theoretical research in the sciences and humanities.

Wendy L. Brown has joined IAS as the UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Social Science. Brown’s foundational insights into neoliberalism, authoritarianism, feminism, sovereignty, progress, and tolerance, among other signature concepts, have revolutionized understandings of democracy and the modern powers that challenge it.