Ideas that originate in particle physics have an uncanny
tendency to appear in the most diverse mathematical fields. This is
especially true for string theory. Its stimulating influence in
mathematics will have a lasting and rewarding impact...
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 geometric
The Institute’s thirteenth annual Prospects in Theoretical
Physics (PiTP) summer program for graduate students and
postdoctoral scholars, which focused on string theory, was truly
extraordinary in that it overlapped with Strings 2014. This is one
In 1935, Albert Einstein and collaborators wrote two papers at
the Institute for Advanced Study. One was on quantum mechanics 
and the other was on black holes . The paper on quantum
mechanics is very famous and influential. It pointed out a...
Following the discovery in July of a Higgs-like boson—an
effort that took more than fifty years of experimental work and
more than 10,000 scientists and engineers working on the Large
Hadron Collider—Juan Maldacena and Nima Arkani-Hamed,
John Brockman, founder and proprietor of the Edge website,
asks a question every New Year and invites the public to answer it.
THE EDGE QUESTION 2012 was, “What is your favorite deep,
elegant, or beautiful explanation?” He got 150 answers that
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.
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