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.

Karen Uhlenbeck

Karen Uhlenbeck is Distinguished Visiting Professor in the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study. A founder of modern geometric analysis, she is professor emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin

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Sanjeev Arora
Panagiota Daskalopoulos

The twenty-sixth annual Women and Mathematics (WAM) Program, “Topics in Geometric Analysis,” was held May 18–24, 2019, at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Participants explored dynamic shapes and surfaces, along with the equations that...

Mathematics and Computation

Avi Wigderson, Herbert H. Maass Professor in the School of Mathematics, has authored Mathematics and Computation: A Theory Revolutionizing Technology and Science (Princeton University Press, 2019)....

Sanjeev Arora

The Institute's School of Mathematics held the workshop "Theory of Deep Learning: Where Next?" October 15–18, 2019, as part of the School's special year on Optimization, Statistics, and Theoretical Machine Learning.

The workshop brought ...

Camillo De Lellis speaks at the blackboard

A variety of systems in natural sciences are described through physically measurable quantities that depend on “independent variables.” For instance, we routinely measure the pressure and the temperature of the air in the Earth’s atmosphere, and...

In 2019–20, Chris J. Maddison, Member in the School of Mathematics and a Senior Research Scientist at DeepMind, is developing methods for machine learning and exploring...

Akshay Venkatesh gives a demonstration of a mathematical knot

In mathematics, there are many surprising parallels between problems in the theory of numbers and questions in three-dimensional geometry.

In "Primes and Knots," a public lecture at the Institute for Advanced Study that took place October...

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From May 31–June 1, 2019, the Institute for Advanced Study hosted a remembrance in honor of Jean Bourgain, Professor in the School of Mathematics for twenty-four years. The public event brought together colleagues...

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Who makes a paper every week,
and every month a new technique,
and founds new branches every year,
and does not know the sense of fear?
And legends—whom d'you hear about?
And if you met him you'd be proud.
Of course...

Historical Studies

Cord Whitaker

with Cord Whitaker

Cord Whitaker, Friends of the Institute for Advanced Study Member in the School of Historical Studies, joins Distinguished Journalism Fellow Joanne Lipman to discuss the current racial unrest, its place in the history of racism, and where we go from here.

Video

By George Dyson

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.” 

Social Science

By Ruha Benjamin

Like everyone who lives in a heavily policed neighborhood, I grew up with a keen sense of being watched. Family, friends, and neighbors—all of us caught up in a carceral web, in which other people’s safety and freedom are predicated on our containment.

Historical Studies

By Myles W. Jackson and Arnold J. Levine

What can the history of science contribute to two controversial aspects of biomedical research: gene patenting, and race and genomics?

Spectacular Black Death - Shatema Threadcraft with Didier Fassin

By Shatema Threadcraft

Think of what it means that all black bodies are not equally evoked by this all-important symbol of racial oppression … What then are those who would ameliorate the conditions of black women in society to do?

On February 13, 1960, students line the counter of a dime store in Greensboro, North Carolina, in protest of the store’s refusal to serve them.

By Michael Walzer

Every political activist who has fought for a good cause dreams of a chance to fight again. We live, right now, in a bad time; American politics has not been this ugly since the Joe McCarthy years or the Red Scare and anti-immigrant frenzy of the early 1920s. We need movements of resistance, and we need citizen activists who remember the old labor union imperative: Organize!

By Joan Wallach Scott

Some of the reasons usually offered to explain the persistence of gender inequality include large abstractions: patriarchy, capitalism, male self-interest, misogyny, religion. These are, of course, useful categories to work with, but none of them can account for how deep-rooted these inequalities are in our psyches, our cultures, and our politics. 

Natural Sciences

By Edward Witten

Much of the theory of knots is best understood in the framework of 20th- and 21st-century developments in quantum physics. In other words, what really fascinates me are not the knots per se but the connections between the knots and quantum physics.

Mathematics

By Richard Taylor

One of the oldest subjects in mathematics is the study of Diophantine equations, i.e., the study of whole number (or fractional) solutions to polynomial equations. 
Robbert Dijkgraaf

Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director and Leon Levy Professor of the Institute for Advanced Study, and Joanne Lipman, IAS’s Peretsman Scully Distinguished Journalism Fellow discuss the coronavirus epidemic, its impact on IAS, and the elevated role of science in society.

Artist's representation of COVID-19

Professor Emeritus Arnold J. Levine spoke with IAS's Joanne Lipman about the novel coronavirus outbreak, how it compares to previous pandemics, and potential therapies in the works that may help stop the spread.

Mathematics

By Ralph Martin Kaufmann

There is a certain scale for effectively communicating mathematical language and its associated truth and beauty. We can transmit ideas, but in order for them to be grasped, they have to be rediscovered or reimagined, much like in the translation of poetry.

Historical Studies

Gossuin de Metz's "Image du Monde"

By Suzanne Conklin Akbari

At the Institute, while each School certainly has its own character and researchers’ work is highly specialized, we share the experience of bewilderment, and the perpetual yearning for clarity.

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“We, mathematicians and scientists, are searching for truth. It’s our goal. But beauty is our guiding light and leads us there.”