Program in Interdisciplinary Studies

Institute for Advanced Study

Interdisciplinary collaboration is based on an attitude of mutual appreciation of diverse ways of knowing. Interdisciplinarity is not just about exchanging or transferring ideas. It entails transforming scholars themselves.

The Program in Interdisciplinary Studies, PIDS for short, is dedicated to developing infrastructure for open-ended intellectual exchange, uncovering new lines of inquiry that were previously inconceivable. Combining the expertise among the faculty, members, and visitors in the four Schools of IAS with interdisciplinary skills and perspectives, we work to expand the interface between formal research and the larger ecosystem of human knowledge.

The specific topic for the year 2022/2023 is the exploration of the possibility of a whole systems analysis of the problem of continued human habitation of Earth.  We are especially interested in studying cascading failure modes in the tightly interwoven complex system of biosphere and human global civilization -- the planet Earth system formed by the five components lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere and noosphere (aka technosphere, anthroposphere).

We offer an active program that includes spontaneous lunch meetings as well as occasional afternoon gatherings around interdisciplinarity and all its facets, as described above. For further information, contact Piet Hut, the Director of PIDS.

This article gives an overview of the Program in Interdisciplinary Studies from the viewpoint of PIDS Visitors Michael Rassias and Olaf Witkowski. It appeared in the Newsletter of the European Mathematical Society, Issue 112, June 2019, pp. 40-42.

For historical reasons, here is a list of the After Hours Conversations, organized by PIDS during the period 2004-2021.