IAS History

Explore the rich history of the Institute for Advanced Study through firsthand accounts from its Faculty and visiting researchers.

Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus in the School of Natural Sciences, wrote a series of letters to his parents about Richard Feynman, published by Physics Today in 1989. Feynman visited the Institute but declined an...

If two such great thinkers as Bohr and Einstein, who had such a high regard for each other, could be brought together for a prolonged period, would not something emerge of great value to all of us? This thought and this hope animated the guiding spirits of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study to invite Niels Bohr to come as a guest of the Institute for the entire spring semester of 1939.

There was no turning back, once word leaked out that the Institute was looking for a home. . . . Veblen found the combination of the Bamberger fortune and the depressed land prices of the 1930s a potent mix. “There is no educational institution in the United States which has not in the beginning made the mistake of acquiring too little rather than too much land,” he wrote to Flexner.

My friend Specker, who could not speak English too well, he told him, “Well, we liked your reading, but I think you spoke down to the audience a bit, didn’t you?” and Dylan Thomas let loose, swear words of an order that we didn’t use, that were no-nos.

“Scientific research in many domains of knowledge has time after time proved the necessity of abandoning or remoulding viewpoints which, due to their fruitfulness and apparently unrestricted applicability, were regarded as indispensable for...

The Institute for Advanced Study celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHÉS), located at Bures-sur-Yvette, France, with an event at IAS last November. Attendees included IHÉS...

This sketch of earlier attempts to bring biology to the Institute for Advanced Study is not a history. I have not dug into the archives to find official documents and exact dates. I am only recording my own fallible memories of events that I...

Seventy-five years ago, after nearly four years of discussion and planning, the Institute for Advanced Study opened on Monday, October 2, 1933. The Director, Abraham Flexner, called together the Faculty of its only school, the School of...

When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933, Albert Einstein had already left the country. He was in the United States and in contact with the founders of his new academic home, the Institute for Advanced Study, which would open in...

The following excerpt by Abraham Flexner, Founding Director of the Institute for Advanced Study, was published in The New York Times on April 17, 1932:

The world is not yet civilized. None the less it is a better world...

The following text, from founding Director Abraham Flexner’s announcement of the appointment of Albert Einstein to the Institute's inaugural Faculty, was published in the New York Times on October 16, 1932.

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In November 1946, Frank Aydelotte (Director, 1939–47) invited the poet T. S. Eliot to come to the Institute for Advanced Study as a Member in the School of Historical Studies and the first unofficial artist in residence at the Institute. By the...