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.

Marion Fourcade

Marion Fourcade is Visiting Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study. A professor at the University of California, Berkeley, she is studying new forms of social stratification created

Didier Fassin

Didier Fassin is James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study. An anthropologist and sociologist, he was trained as a physician in


Like many Americans, my family and I were riveted by the Roots miniseries when it first aired in January 1977. I vividly recall sitting in front of the television with my mother, father, sister, and two brothers, watching the story of Alex...

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.

Originally published in 1971, Political Action: A Practical Guide to Movement Politics by Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus in the Institute’s School of Social Science, was republished by New York Review of Books in...

I spent part of my childhood living with my grandma just off Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles. My school was on the same street as our house, but I still spent many a day trying to coax kids on my block to “play school” with me on my grandma’s...

Michael G. Hanchard during a 2014 Social Science seminar on "Sociology’s Promise"

As sociologists have reminded us, race, like power, is a relational concept. A so-called race is invariably defined in distinction to other presumed races. Where racial reasoning and the practice of comparison have combined in modern politics is...

Book cover for "Knowledge, Power, and Academic Freedom" by Joan Wallach Scott

In my lifetime, academic freedom has been repeatedly under threat. In the 1950s, in the McCarthy era, hundreds of teachers were interrogated about their political beliefs and summarily fired, whether or not those beliefs had anything to do with...

In 2019–20, Julia Ott, Member in the School of Social Science and Associate Professor at the New School for Social Research, is examining the origins of venture capital as an...

Book cover for "A Time for Critique"

Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, and Bernard E. Harcourt, Visiting Professor (2016–17) in the School, have edited A Time...

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.


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.


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.


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.


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