Edward Witten

Edward Witten, Charles Simonyi Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, first came to the Institute as a Member in 1984 and was appointed as a Professor in 1987. His work has significantly enriched the fields of mathematics and physics, and he has contributed greatly to the modern interest in superstrings as a candidate theory for the unification of all known physical interactions. Most recently, he has explored quantum duality symmetries of field theories and string theories, opening significant new perspectives on particle physics, string theory, and topology.

How do we fit into our mathematical descriptions? Well, one thing I’ll tell you is that in general, when you have dualities, things that are easy to see in one description can be hard to see in the other description. So you and I, for example,...

“From Qubits to Spacetime,” the title of 2018's Prospects in Theoretical Physics program, took place from July 16–27, 2018, and covered topics ranging from the connections between quantum information and the structure of spacetime, to how...

As part of Ideas: Celebrating 2017–18Clay Cordova, Marvin L. Goldberger Member in the School of ...

On April 26, 2018, the Institute community gathered to celebrate Ideas 2017–18 with talks by IAS Members––deep ideas explained in under 20 minutes with no slides or chalk––followed by audience discussions moderated by Faculty. The program...

Ed Witten, Charles Simonyi Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, and Helmut Hofer, Professor in the School of Mathematics, along with Marc Lackenby, Martin R. Bridson, and Rahul Pandharipande, have co-authored Lectures on Geometry ...

In 2016, Professor Nathan Seiberg celebrates his sixtieth birthday and reaches his twentieth year as a Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. The conference celebrating these occasions was...

In 2006, Edward Witten, Charles Simonyi Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, cowrote with Anton Kapustin a 225-page paper, “Electric-Magnetic Duality and the Geometric Langlands Program,” on the relation of part of the...

Prospects in Theoretical Physics is summer program designed for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars considering a career in theoretical physics.  First held by the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in the...

We felt like we were in uncharted territory: no mathematicians we knew had ever received grants of this magnitude before. Normally, mathematicians receive relatively small individual grants from the National Science Foundation. This sounded a bit scary . . .  We turned to the Institute for Advanced Study as the place to foster innovation. As they say, the rest is history.

“It is indeed an endless cycle of imagination and concentration, of divergence and convergence, of playing and thinking that deter­mines the rhythm of science and scholarship,” writes Robbert Dijkgraaf on the occasion of becoming the Institute’s ninth Director and first Leon Levy Professor. “The Institute is devoted to creating and sup­porting these experiences and the resulting, often surprising, advancements in knowledge.”

On November 14, the Institute for Advanced Study announced the appointment of Robbert Dijkgraaf as its ninth Director, succeeding, as of July 1, 2012, Peter Goddard, who has served as Director since January 2004.

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The ancients thought that space and time were preexisting entities on which motion happens. Of course, this is also our naive intuition. According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, we know that this is not true. Space and time are dynamical objects whose shape is modified by the bodies that move in it.