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.
In the two years I spent at the Institute, 1957–59, I had
the opportunity of meeting two of the founders of the quantum
theory—Niels Bohr and Paul Dirac. In the case of Bohr,
perhaps “meeting” overstates the case. He was a
Member in the spring of...
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.
I sometimes like to think about what it might be like inside a
black hole. What does that even mean? Is it really
“like” anything inside a black hole? Nature keeps us
from ever knowing. (Well, what we know for sure is that nature
keeps us from...
In the twentieth century, mathematicians developed a deep
theory of knots, which was revolutionized by the discovery of the
Jones polynomial—a way to calculate a number for every
knot—by Vaughan F. R. Jones in the early 1980s. Below, Edward