IAS Welcomes 271 Scholars for 2021–22 Academic Year

Press Contact

Lee Sandberg

Following a year and a half of digital seminars, remote collaboration, and a phased return to campus, the Institute for Advanced Study begins its 2021–22 academic year with a continuation of in-person activities. The Institute plans to welcome 271 new and returning scholars and scientists to campus, representing 114 academic institutions and hailing from 38 countries. Approximately half of visiting scholars will be international.

Wendy Brown, appointed in July as UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Social Science, begins her first term on the IAS Faculty. One of the preeminent political theorists of her generation, she is leading the School’s special theme year on “Political Mobilizations and Social Movements” with James D. Wolfensohn Professor Didier Fassin and in collaboration with Harold F. Linder Professor Alondra Nelson, who serves as Deputy Director for Science and Society for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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Lee Sandberg

“I am thrilled to be able to welcome a brilliant and esteemed group of scholars to campus this year, and I am deeply thankful to everyone in our community who continues to support safe spaces and our ability to offer an in-person campus experience,” stated Robbert Dijkgraaf, IAS Director and Leon Levy Professor. “The pandemic has taught us a great deal about ourselves and opened up new channels of collaboration. I am eager to see how these lessons and tools will be applied at the Institute to forge a brighter and more informed future.”

Research at IAS is conducted across four Schools—Historical Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social Science—to push the boundaries of human knowledge through interdisciplinary collaboration and intellectual risk-taking. The following four scholars, each of whom you can read more about, represent a unique cross-section of this year’s class:

  • Rosanna Dent is an historian of science and a Member in the School of Historical Studies. She pursues research at the intersection of medicine, Latin American history, Native studies, and feminist science/technology studies. As part of her research, Dent is working to understand, “how research subjects, experience, influence, and make political use of science, and how they have influenced scientific disciplines in the process.”
  • John Urschel, Member in the School of Mathematics, is an applied mathematician/theoretical computer scientist as well as a former professional football player, who spent three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. Urschel retired from the NFL in 2017, and went on to complete his Ph.D. at MIT in 2021. He states, “I’m happiest when I’m working on problems that are fundamentally interesting and exciting to me, independent of application or perceived prestige.”

During the 2021–22 academic year, the School of Mathematics is hosting a special program on the h-principle and its applications to problems in analysis and geometry, organized by IBM von Neumann Professor Camillo De Lellis and Distinguished Visiting Professor László Székelyhidi.

  • Nadia Zakamska, returning Member in the School of Natural Sciences, is an astrophysicist studying a variety of astronomical wonders, ranging from extrasolar planets to extragalactic astronomy. Her current research focuses on long-standing puzzles in the evolution and dynamics of binary stars, the discovery of binaries of compact stellar remnants, and the “extreme conditions which teach us something new about the physics of the universe.”
  • Zachariah C. Mampilly, a Member in the School of Social Science, studies violent and non-violent movements for political transformation, focusing on Africa and South Asia. He states, “I was drawn to IAS so I can immerse myself in an environment where I can engage with scholars from different disciplines and methodological orientations as I work on my book project.”

With a vaccine mandate in place, numerous safeguards implemented, and strict adherence to CDC and state guidelines, the Institute is continuing prioritize community health and safety as it advances its mission of curiosity driven research.

IAS scholars are selected by the permanent Faculty in a highly competitive process for their bold ideas, innovative methods, and deep research questions.

Learn more about our scholars and their research here.

About the Institute
The Institute for Advanced Study is one of the world's foremost centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. Located in Princeton, NJ, the IAS is dedicated to independent study across the sciences and humanities. Founded in 1930, the Institute is devoted to advancing the frontiers of knowledge without concern for immediate application. From founding IAS Professor Albert Einstein to the foremost thinkers of today, the IAS enables bold, curiosity-driven innovation to enrich society in unexpected ways.

Each year, the Institute welcomes more than 200 of the world's most promising post-doctoral researchers and scholars who are selected and mentored by a permanent Faculty, each of whom are preeminent leaders in their fields. Among present and past Faculty and Members there have been 35 Nobel Laureates, 42 of the 60 Fields Medalists, and 21 of the 24 Abel Prize Laureates, as well as many MacArthur Fellows and Wolf Prize winners.