Spring 2021

Includes a variety of articles by Faculty and Members exploring the origins of the Second World War and the bias that is often built into state accounts; mathematical dualities and Fourier transforms; and the troubling history and misuse of the term “moral hazard” in health insurance. Also featuring a transcript of Alondra Nelson’s remarks, delivered on the occasion of her appointment as Deputy Director for Science and Society in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and Avi Wigderson’s 2021 Abel Prize for foundational contributions to the field of the theory of computation.

“I think an unaccompanied scholar, particularly a male, probably has the best of all possible worlds at the Institute.” 
—Social Science Member in the 1970s, male, age 50 at the moment of the questionnaire in 1976

Founded in 1930, the Institute for...

In colloquial speech the word “duality” connotes two contrasting facets of a single entity, often at odds with one another. The concept is anthropomorphized in mythology by deities or monsters with multiple faces, like the two-faced Janus, Roman god of doorways. It is also enshrined in pop culture in the double visages of Jekyll and Hyde, and in the Batman villain Harvey Dent (alias Two-Face). In physics and mathematics, the concept of “duality” takes on a more positive connotation because of its ubiquity, utility, and power.