Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, one of the Institute’s first Professors, serving from 1933 until his death in 1955, played a significant part in the Institute's early development. While at IAS, Einstein pursued the goal of a unified field theory, at a time when the idea had been set aside by the majority of working physicists. In recent years, this has again become a central goal of physicists, and string theory has become the favored candidate for a unified understanding of the basic laws of the physical universe.

In 2012, Ahmed Almheiri, current Member in the School of Natural Sciences, coauthored a paper that confounded theoretical physicists, sparked attention from the New York Times to Scientific...

Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director and Leon Levy Professor, gives a talk to incoming scholars on the history and mission of the Institute during Welcome Day on September 25, 2017. 

The Institute for Advanced Study came into being at the most inauspicious of times. Founded in the early years of the Great Depression, it took shape during the buildup to the Second World War and under the growing shadow of authoritarian regimes. Its first Director Abraham Flexner published his manifesto on the “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge” in October 1939, barely a month after the outbreak of hostilities in Europe. Surely this was a daunting moment to defend “the fearless and irresponsible thinker” and advocate for the free expression of knowledge and curiosity. 

In November 1954, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to a magazine in which he declared that, were he a young man again, he would not try to become a scientist: “I would rather choose to be a plumber or a peddler in...

The Institute sometimes spends money on risky ventures, giving sustained support to people who work on unfashionable and dubious projects. One example of a risky venture was Einstein, who worked here for twenty years on unified field theories...

Albert Einstein finished his general theory of relativity in November 1915, and in the hundred years since, its influence has been profound, dramatically influencing the direction of physics, cosmology, and mathematics. The theory upended Isaac...

Christmas Day, 1942, was the three hundredth birthday of Isaac Newton. I was then an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge. Since Newton was our most famous fellow, the college organized a meeting to celebrate his birthday. Since it was war...

Wolfram Wette is one of Germany’s foremost military historians and Professor at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg. He is the author or editor of over forty books, including The Wehrmacht: History, Myth, Reality (Harvard...

Robbert Dijkgraaf presents an overview of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, one of the great pillars of modern physics, and its enduring influence.

Addressing an international audience in 2004, Professor Dong Guangbi, an erudite historian of science, summarized Chinese physics development over the previous century, and he argued that the country from which Chinese physicists and physics...

What do the motion of the planets in our solar system, the energy levels of the hydrogen atom, and the interactions between subatomic particles have in common? Surprisingly, they are all governed by the same hidden symmetry principles. This is...