# Ideas

Explore firsthand accounts of research and questions posed by IAS scientists and scholars. From art history to string theory, from moral anthropology to the long-term fate of the universe, contributions span the last decade to the research of today.

This installment of our "Paths to Math" video series features Julian Chaidez, postdoctoral scholar in the School of Mathematics. Watch to learn how a formative teacher at Julian’s high school fostered his enthusiasm for math, and how he has himself helped to support a new generation of diverse mathematicians through mentoring undergraduates at a summer research program.

Shira’s work explores symplectic geometry, combining the study of geometry and Hamiltonian dynamics. Watch to learn how her interest in math was fostered by reading books by Paul Hoffman and Donal O’Shea, and how the creativity required to solve mathematical problems inspires her to this day.

This installment of our "Paths to Math" video series features Patrick Shafto, Member in the Institute’s School of Mathematics and Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Rutgers University. Learn how Patrick’s unexpected start studying physical therapy at Northeastern eventually led to his current research, which explores the intersections of human and machine learning.

Introducing D. Dominique Kemp, the first Black student to receive a PhD in Mathematics from Indiana University-Bloomington. He joins the IAS School of Mathematics in 2022–2023 to continue his exploration of problems that connect harmonic analysis with geometry.

When Karen Uhlenbeck was a MacArthur fellow, between 1983–88, she went on a series of incredible adventures visiting other MacArthur fellows and learning about their projects. “This was actually one of the high points of my life,” Uhlenbeck said to me, laughing. She recalls whale watching in Hawaii with Roger Payne, a trip to the Amazon to see Philip DeVries’s work with butterflies, studying lemurs in Madagascar with Pat Wright, and a Montana dinosaur dig with Jack Horner.

In this Scholar Spotlight we feature three former scholars: Michael Hanchard (Social Science), Jo Nelson (Mathematics), and Tracy Slatyer (Natural Sciences). They explain how and why the environment at IAS nourishes independent thinkers and prompts scholars to ask questions that push the boundaries of knowledge.

Mathematics Member John Urschel works on linear algebra, specifically matrix analysis. In this video, he shares his journey from the NFL to a career in mathematics, having worked on his Ph.D. at MIT during the offseason while playing for the Baltimore Ravens. Now retired from the NFL, Urschel is able to focus completely on math.

Ukrainian mathematician Svitlana Mayboroda was initially undecided on her career path. She had every intention of going into business until an opportunity presented itself to attend a mathematics graduate program in the United States.

Agustin Moreno, Member in the School of Mathematics, is exploring a restricted case of the three-body problem—a concept that considers the complex motion of three masses under the influence of a force such as gravity.

The Institute for Advanced Study distributed $21,742.50 in stipends for mathematics and $10,000 for theoretical physics during the academic year 1935–36. Three hundred dollars, sufficient to secure entry to the United States, was awarded to the Polish mathematician Stanislaw Ulam (1909–84), who had written to John von Neumann about a problem in measure theory in 1934.

### Why is life not valued the same way everywhere?

For *Frankfurter Allgemeine*, Novina Göhlsdorf interviews James D. Wolfensohn Professor Didier Fassin about conspiracy theories and public health.

### Paths to Math: Shira Tanny

Shira’s work explores symplectic geometry, combining the study of geometry and Hamiltonian dynamics. Watch to learn how her interest in math was fostered by reading books by Paul Hoffman and Donal O’Shea, and how the creativity required to solve mathematical problems inspires her to this day.

### Black Holes as Laboratories

The unparalleled resolution of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) images of the black holes at the center of the M87 galaxy and at the center of our galaxy, called Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), allows us to test assumptions, predictions, and alternatives to Einstein’s theory of gravity.

### HistoGenes

Patrick Geary is co-PI of the European Research Council funded research project HistoGenes, which uses a combination of genomic, archaeological, anthropological, and historical methods to study over six-thousand burial sites in the Carpathian Basin between the fifth and tenth centuries.

### Animating the Antique: Sculptural Encounter in the Age of Aesthetic Theory

*Animating the Antique: Sculptural Encounter in the Age of Aesthetic Theory*, a pioneering work of eighteenth and nineteenth century art history, has been published by Penn State University Press. Sarah Betzer, a Member and former Visitor (2014–15, 2016) in the School of Historical Studies, wrote the book during her time at the Institute, culminating in the groundbreaking and widely-acclaimed text that spans a century-and-a-half and offers new account of the distinctively modern allure of the antique.

### Q&A with D. Dominique Kemp

Introducing D. Dominique Kemp, the first Black student to receive a PhD in Mathematics from Indiana University-Bloomington. He joins the IAS School of Mathematics in 2022–2023 to continue his exploration of problems that connect harmonic analysis with geometry.

### Pandemic Exposures

*Pandemic Exposures: Economy and Society in the Time of Coronavirus*, a collection of essays on the COVID-19 pandemic and its reverberations, edited by James D. Wolfensohn Professor Didier Fassin and Visiting Professor Marion Fourcade (2019-20), has been published by *HAU Books *and distributed by *The University of Chicago Press*.

### The James Webb Space Telescope: What’s Next?

In the wake of the first image release, former IAS Member Nadia Zakamska, whose research group has been involved with JWST since 2017, provides a deeper understanding of the telescope’s significance and reflects on her role in gathering and analyzing early release data.

### "Well, Doc, You're In": A New Examination of Freeman Dyson's Life and Work

The life and work of renowned scientist, visionary, and iconoclast Freeman Dyson, who spent most of his career at the Institute for Advanced Study, is the focus of a new book edited by American physicist and historian of science David Kaiser.

### Scholar Spotlight: Reflections on IAS

In this Scholar Spotlight we feature three former scholars: Michael Hanchard (Social Science), Jo Nelson (Mathematics), and Tracy Slatyer (Natural Sciences). They explain how and why the environment at IAS nourishes independent thinkers and prompts scholars to ask questions that push the boundaries of knowledge.

### Q&A with Verena Krebs

Verena Krebs is a medieval historian working on Christian Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa, who draws on archaeology, art, and written sources for her scholarship. At IAS, Krebs will work on her second monograph, “Africa Collecting Europe: Patronage and Power in Christian Ethiopia, 1468–1530.”

### After Dobbs: Biolegalities of Fetal Personhood

There is a uniquely U.S. story to the legal undoings following
*Dobbs v. Jackson* Women’s Health Organization. The American
divide on abortion finds its contested space reinvigorated by the
recent majority decision from the U.S. Supreme Court that...

### Ancient Jury Duty Comes to Life at IAS

Pinakia, here shown as casts made of Plaster of Paris, were small bronze plates used in ancient Athens for the process of democratically selecting a group of citizens to serve on a jury. Athenian citizens would nominate themselves for jury duty, volunteering their bronze plates to be inserted into a kleroterion (a machine with rows of slots and a built-in lottery system).

### Bob Moses’s Legacy

When Karen Uhlenbeck was a MacArthur fellow, between 1983–88, she went on a series of incredible adventures visiting other MacArthur fellows and learning about their projects. “This was actually one of the high points of my life,” Uhlenbeck said to me, laughing. She recalls whale watching in Hawaii with Roger Payne, a trip to the Amazon to see Philip DeVries’s work with butterflies, studying lemurs in Madagascar with Pat Wright, and a Montana dinosaur dig with Jack Horner.