The Institute Letter Spring 2018

From dark matter and authoritarian culture in the Arab world to the intertwining of power and gender in our culture and psyches, the Spring 2018 Institute Letter includes articles by Faculty and Members that span research underway at the Institute.

Why should we write the history and sociology of the social sciences? Some have suggested that putting science under the sociological microscope is self-indulgent and dangerously relativist. Others murmur that only...

On April 6, 1960, Institute for Advanced Study Director Robert Oppenheimer received a letter from psychologist John E. Drevdahl, requesting his support in setting up a study among IAS Members to assess the factors that...

This essay was first presented in Italian in a dialogue with the physicist Tullio Regge, former Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, as the fifth episode in a television series “Dietro lo Specchio,” broadcast...

The field of cosmology has come a long way toward understanding the universe as a physical system: we’ve mapped its history and structure in great detail, we know what it went through since a few seconds after its birth until today, we understand...

Two pairs of earrings, four bracelets, and a mixtape inspired me to write this book. I was in the Stadtmuseum in the German city of Jena, peering into the various display cases of an exhibit called Freundschaft! Mythos und Realität im Alltag...

Half a century ago a French historian of rural Languedoc published a history of climate and people: climate changes, is subject to fluctuations, and (since history is about change) climate is the object of history.2 Le Roy...

As controversy swirls in the wake of the revelations about the abuses of women by powerful men in the arts, politics, media, academia, restaurants, and elsewhere come to light, it is important to remember that we are dealing not with exceptional...

As recent events have demonstrated, one of the most significant phenomena of the Arab World’s modern history is the persistence and resilience of undemocratic government. Syria has enjoyed the dubious distinction of leadership in this respect,...