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.

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.

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.

Dreaming up the Good Life

While some people were baking sourdough bread during the pandemic, Kristen Ghodsee, Member (2006–07) in the School of Social Science, studied utopian communities. In this interview, she discusses the resulting book, Everyday Utopia: What 2,000 Years of Wild Experiments Can Teach Us About the Good Life, and her efforts to engage a non-academic audience through her writing and even TikTok!

Forging a Closed Loop

Based on her firsthand experience of shadowing workers on construction sites in Qatar, Natasha Iskander, Member (2022–23) in the School of Social Science, reveals how climate change and climate migration were exploited for profit at the 2022 World Cup. She highlights that climate change has a face, and that its consequences are made through specific economic and organizational practices.

Bridging the Two Culture Divide

Reflecting on preliminary results obtained from a seven-year HistoGenes project, Patrick J. Geary, Professor Emeritus in the School of Historical Studies, describes how advances in the field of paleogenom­ics are not only revolutionizing the study of paleolithic hominids but are also allowing scholars to answer questions about much more recent history, previously inaccessible using traditional historical and archae­ological sources.