The Institute Letter Fall 2022

Learn how researchers have harnessed black holes to test theories of fundamental physics and are beginning to glimpse the first stars and galaxies in the universe with the James Webb Space Telescope. Join in the thrill of a discovery made right here at IAS of more than 100 plaster casts of ancient coins. Take a deep dive into the complexities of fetal personhood as analyzed by social scientists in the wake of the Dobbs Supreme Court decision. Also included are articles about the grand opening of Rubenstein Commons; early IAS innovations in climatology; and interviews with Verena Krebs (Historical Studies), D. Dominique Kemp (Mathematics), and Leslye Obiora, past Visitor in the School of Social Science.

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"There is a uniquely U.S. story to the legal undoings following Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The American divide on abortion finds its contested space reinvigorated by the recent majority decision from the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned Roe and Casey. This distinctly American institution of politically appointed judges is unparalleled to any other top courts in other liberal democracies."

The unparalleled resolution of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) images of the black holes at the center of the M87 galaxy and at the center of our galaxy, called Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), allows us to test assumptions, predictions, and alternatives to Einstein’s theory of gravity. 

Verena Krebs is an award-winning medieval historian working on Christian Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. She draws on archaeology, art, and written sources for her scholarship. At IAS, Krebs will work on her second monograph, “Africa Collecting Europe: Patronage and Power in Christian Ethiopia, 1468–1530", which will tease out an untold story about the assertion of power in a pre-colonial African kingdom.