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.

The work of plasma fusion physicists may seem completely divorced from the realm of theoretical astrophysics, but, as Chris Hamilton, John N. Bahcall Fellow in the School of Natural Sciences, explains, the mathematical methods developed to exploit the power of the electrons, ions, and magnetic fields in fusion plasmas are precisely the same as those needed to describe the dynamics of stars, spiral arms, and dark matter in galaxies like the Milky Way. 

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. 

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.