Black Holes, Fate of the Universe: IAS Scholars Prepare for the New Year
WELCOMING THE SCHOLARS: Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) Director Robbert Dijkgraaf welcomed four new permanent faculty members and 268 visiting scholars from around the world at IAS’s opening celebration on Monday. He promised “an environment that reflects the highest standards and most inclusive principles of the scientific community, as well as encouraging the expansive sharing of knowledge around the world.” (Photo by Mason Pilcher, Institute for Advanced Study, 2018)
By Donald Gilpin
With research on tap that includes theoretical machine learning, quantum information and black holes, the structure of space-time, the origins and long-term fate of the universe, analysis of ancient DNA to elucidate history, origins of modern democracy and human rights, and much more, the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) celebrated its Welcome Day on Monday, September 24, greeting four new permanent faculty members and 268 visiting scholars and scientists.
From young postdoctoral fellows to distinguished senior professors, the new visiting scholars represent 25 countries and 116 institutions from around the world.
The four new senior professors include two historians: Francesca Trivellato from Yale University, specializing in economic, social, and cultural history; and historian of science Myles Jackson from New York University; as well as two mathematicians: geometric analyst Camillo De Lellis from Universitat Zurich and Akshay Venkatesh, a number theorist who won this year’s Fields Medal, from Stanford University.
“As we welcome new members to the Institute, we are excited for all the possibilities that lie ahead to push the boundaries of knowledge and shape new lines of inquiry for deeper exploration,” Institute Director Robbert Dijkgraaf told incoming members. “One thing that holds true since the founding of the Institute is that no two classes are alike. Scholars bring their own ideas, experience, culture, and questions about the world and contribute to a base of knowledge that can be cultivated and synthesized in innumerable ways.”
Founded in 1930, IAS is one of the world’s leading centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry, supporting research in the sciences and humanities. The IAS offers an environment in which members, living in an academic village of apartments on the Institute’s 800-acre campus, share libraries, a dining hall, and office space, where they can collaborate and work independently.
“Intellectual freedom is paramount to developing new knowledge and methodologies that shape the future,” said Dijkgraaf. “Ensuring an environment that reflects the highest standards and most inclusive principles of the scientific community, as well as encouraging the expansive sharing of knowledge around the world, remain defining characteristics of the Institute for Advanced Study.”
A focal point for exploration in the School of Social Science this year will be “Crisis and Critique,” while the School of Mathematics, among many other topics on the agenda, will host a special program on “Variational Methods in Geometry.”
Thirty-three Nobel Laureates and 42 Fields medalists, as well as many winners of the Wolf and MacArthur prizes, have been affiliated with the Institute.