Mathematics

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...

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...

On a beautiful overlook near the university, a middle-aged man is enjoying the view of the majestic Fjord. Judging from his clothing, he is a stonemason from the quarry just below him. But actually, he is a professor at the university who often...

In November, out of the blue, I received a letter from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Nothing about the envelope suggested that the letter inside would be important. It was an ordinary white office envelope with Institute for...

One of the key scientific contributions of the 20th century, Claude Shannon's "A Mathematical Theory of Communication” created the field of information theory in 1948. In addition to the impact of information theory on communications technology,...

Differential privacy disentangles learning about a dataset as a whole from learning about an individual data contributor. Just now entering practice on a global scale, the demand for advanced differential privacy techniques and knowledge of basic...

In 2016, Avi Wigderson, Herbert H. Maass Professor in the School of Mathematics, celebrates his sixtieth birthday. The Institute for Advanced Study hosted a conference in honor of this occasion from October 5 through October 8, 2016, with...

The Institute hosted the Beyond Endoscopy conference, led by Professor Emeritus Robert P. Langlands, on September 30 and October 1, 2016. View talks from the conference below. 

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Explore a collection of Robert Langlands’s papers, as well as some of his lectures and correspondence, on topics ranging from functoriality, representation theory, and base change to endoscopy, Shimura varieties, percolation, and geometric theory...

During the 2015-16 academic year, the School of Mathematics hosted a program on the topic of geometric structures in three dimensions. This article is an adaptation of a talk I gave in fall 2015, as part of the School's biweekly "Mathematical...

This therefore, is mathematics: she reminds you of the invisible forms of the soul; she gives light to her own discoveries; she awakens the mind and purifies the intellect; she brings light to our intrinsic ideas; she abolishes oblivion and...