The Institute for Advanced Study: The First 100 Years

In 1916, social theorist Thorstein Veblen called for the post-war institution of “academic houses of refuge... where teachers and students of all nationalities, including Americans with the rest, may pursue their chosen work.” In 1923, Oswald Veblen contacted Simon Flexner, who suggested “you might speak with my brother, Mr. Abraham Flexner,” thus bringing in Louis Bamberger and Carrie Fuld, whose fortunes had been launched selling distressed merchandise out of a Newark storefront in 1892. In this public lecture, George Dyson, Director's Visitor (2002–03), explores how as a flood of distressed intellectuals began fleeing Europe, the Veblens, the Flexners, and the Bambergers opened a department store for the freedom of ideas.

This lecture was presented on the occasion of the American and European Physical Societies' recognition of the Institute for Advanced Study as their inaugual Joint Historic Physics Site in the U.S. Read more about the award.

Support for this event was provided by a grant from the Schwab Charitable Fund made possible by the generosity of Eric and Wendy Schmidt.