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.

Chris Maddison

Chris Maddison, Member (2019–20) in the Institute for Advanced Study’s School of Mathematics, works on the development of methods for machine learning, with a focus on deep learning. He is an assistant professor at the

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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

Sanjeev Arora is Distinguished Visiting Professor in the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study. Specializing in the theory of deep learning, with an interest in

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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...

Social Science

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By Alondra Nelson

Genetics is today engaged in practices of identity formation, in philanthropy and socioeconomic development projects, as corroborating evidence in civil litigation and historical debates, and elsewhere. 

Ideas

“We feel strongly that the spirit characteristic of America at its noblest, above all the pursuit of higher learning, cannot admit of any conditions as to personnel other than those designed to promote the objects for which this institution is established, and particularly with no regard whatever to accidents of race, creed, or sex.”

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.

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.

Historical Studies

On researching the dynamics of race-making and the value of the Middle Ages to the work of racial justice

Mathematics

By Matthew Kahle

In hindsight, it is strange that the Rubik’s Cube ever became so popular considering how hard it is. 

By Monica H. Green

The Institute is a remarkably modest place. Like all Members, I was provided a lovely apartment, a simple office (with computer), access to libraries, lunch in the dining hall, tea in the afternoon. So how does new knowledge come out of such a simple mix? 

Video

By Sara Seager

Sara Seager on her search (as of 2013) for expolanetary lifeforms.

Historical Studies

By W. Anthony Sheppard

When I arrived at the Institute, I thought I knew exactly what I would accomplish as a Member in the School of Historical Studies… However, through a chance encounter with a nineteenth-century musical artifact, my carefully crafted research schedule was completely derailed.

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.” 

Mathematics

By Vladimir Voevodsky

What would inconsistency of the first order arithmetic mean for mathematics? What we need are foundations which can be used to construct reliable proofs despite being inconsistent.

Social Science

By Mary L. Dudziak

Politicians and other leaders have regularly framed the current global health crisis as a period of “wartime.” In this 2012 article, Mary Dudziak, Member (2007–08) in the School of Social Science, examines the meaning of “wartime,” investigating the temporal element in warfare and the ways war structures our conception of time.

Historical Studies

By Sabine Schmidtke

View a video in which Sabine Schmidtke, Professor of Islamic Intellectual History in the School of Historical Studies, discusses the vast, global, and indispensable Islamic manuscript tradition that is currently under immediate threat.

David Lang speaks about the pandemic's influence on music, composition, and live arts performances in an interview with Distinguished Journalism Fellow Joanne Lipman.