Institutions can flourish by finding innovative methods to
affirm the most admirable ideals articulated at their foundings.
Some of IAS’s greatest ideals reflect its origins in the
1930s, at the time of the Great Depression and the emergence
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 concluded...
Liquid crystals, discovered serendipitously by Friedrich
Reinitzer in the late nineteenth century, have come to play an
important role in the world of consumer electronics, specifically
in the production of ever larger, thinner, and more energy...
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 hope to find that modest degree...
To Albert Einstein, she was
“the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far
produced since the higher education of women began.” More
straightforward in his praise, Einstein’s fellow Professor at
the Institute for Advanced Study, Hermann...