Institute for Advanced Study

Institute for Advanced Study

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The Institute for Advanced Study, located in Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton is a community located in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. It is best known as the location of Princeton University, which has been sited in the community since 1756...

, United States, is an independent postgraduate center for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. It was founded in 1930 by Abraham Flexner
Abraham Flexner
Abraham Flexner was an American educator. His Flexner Report, published in 1910, reformed medical education in the United States...

. The Institute is perhaps best known as the academic home of Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

, John von Neumann
John von Neumann
John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath who made major contributions to a vast number of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, geometry, fluid dynamics, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis,...

, Oskar Morgenstern
Oskar Morgenstern
Oskar Morgenstern was a German-born Austrian-School economist. He, along with John von Neumann, helped found the mathematical field of game theory ....

 and Kurt Gödel
Kurt Gödel
Kurt Friedrich Gödel was an Austrian logician, mathematician and philosopher. Later in his life he emigrated to the United States to escape the effects of World War II. One of the most significant logicians of all time, Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the...

, after their immigration to the United States. Other famous scholars who have worked at the institute include Alan Turing
Alan Turing
Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS , was an English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of "algorithm" and "computation" with the Turing machine, which played a...

, Paul Dirac
Paul Dirac
Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, OM, FRS was an English theoretical physicist who made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics...

, Edward Witten
Edward Witten
Edward Witten is an American theoretical physicist with a focus on mathematical physics who is currently a professor of Mathematical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study....

, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson
Freeman John Dyson FRS is a British-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum field theory, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. Dyson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists...

, Julian Bigelow
Julian Bigelow
-Life:Bigelow was born in 1913 and obtained a master's degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying electrical engineering and mathematics...

, Erwin Panofsky
Erwin Panofsky
Erwin Panofsky was a German art historian, whose academic career was pursued mostly in the U.S. after the rise of the Nazi regime. Panofsky's work remains highly influential in the modern academic study of iconography...

, Homer A. Thompson, George Kennan
George Kennan
George Kennan may refer to:* George Kennan * George F. Kennan , diplomat and historian; the explorer's great-nephew and architect of the U.S. containment over confrontation policy during the Cold War....

, Hermann Weyl
Hermann Weyl
Hermann Klaus Hugo Weyl was a German mathematician and theoretical physicist. Although much of his working life was spent in Zürich, Switzerland and then Princeton, he is associated with the University of Göttingen tradition of mathematics, represented by David Hilbert and Hermann Minkowski.His...

, Stephen Smale
Stephen Smale
Steven Smale a.k.a. Steve Smale, Stephen Smale is an American mathematician from Flint, Michigan. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1966, and spent more than three decades on the mathematics faculty of the University of California, Berkeley .-Education and career:He entered the University of...

, Atle Selberg
Atle Selberg
Atle Selberg was a Norwegian mathematician known for his work in analytic number theory, and in the theory of automorphic forms, in particular bringing them into relation with spectral theory...

, Clifford Geertz
Clifford Geertz
Clifford James Geertz was an American anthropologist who is remembered mostly for his strong support for and influence on the practice of symbolic anthropology, and who was considered "for three decades...the single most influential cultural anthropologist in the United States." He served until...

, Paul Erdős
Paul Erdos
Paul Erdős was a Hungarian mathematician. Erdős published more papers than any other mathematician in history, working with hundreds of collaborators. He worked on problems in combinatorics, graph theory, number theory, classical analysis, approximation theory, set theory, and probability theory...

, Michael Atiyah
Michael Atiyah
Sir Michael Francis Atiyah, OM, FRS, FRSE is a British mathematician working in geometry.Atiyah grew up in Sudan and Egypt but spent most of his academic life in the United Kingdom at Oxford and Cambridge, and in the United States at the Institute for Advanced Study...

, Erich Auerbach
Erich Auerbach
Erich Auerbach was a philologist and comparative scholar and critic of literature. His best-known work is Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, a history of representation in Western literature from ancient to modern times.-Biography:Auerbach, who was Jewish, was born in...

, Nima Arkani-Hamed
Nima Arkani-Hamed
Nima Arkani-Hamed is a leading Canadian American theoretical physicist with interests in high-energy physics, string theory and cosmology....

, Michael Walzer
Michael Walzer
Michael Walzer is a prominent American political philosopher and public intellectual. A professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, he is co-editor of Dissent, an intellectual magazine that he has been affiliated with since his years as an undergraduate at...

, and Stephen Wolfram
Stephen Wolfram
Stephen Wolfram is a British scientist and the chief designer of the Mathematica software application and the Wolfram Alpha computational knowledge engine.- Biography :...

. There have subsequently been other Institutes of Advanced Study, which are based on a similar model.

Schools


There are no degree programs or experimental facilities at the Institute, and research is funded by endowments, grants and gifts — it does not support itself with tuition or fees. Research is never contracted or directed; it is left to each individual researcher to pursue his or her own goals.

It is not part of any educational institution; however, the proximity of Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 (less than two miles (3 km) from its science departments to the Institute complex) means that informal ties are close and a large number of collaborations have arisen over the years. (The Institute was actually housed within Princeton University—in the building since called Jones Hall, which was then Princeton's mathematics department—for 6 years, from its opening in 1933, until Fuld Hall was finished and opened in 1939. This helped start an incorrect impression that it was part of Princeton, one that has never been completely eradicated.)

The Institute has four Schools: Historical Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social Science, with a more recent program in systems biology
Systems biology
Systems biology is a term used to describe a number of trends in bioscience research, and a movement which draws on those trends. Proponents describe systems biology as a biology-based inter-disciplinary study field that focuses on complex interactions in biological systems, claiming that it uses...

. It consists of a permanent faculty of 28, and each year awards fellowships to 190 visiting Members, from over 100 universities and research institutions. Individuals apply to become Members at the Institute, and each of the Schools have their own application procedures and deadlines. Members are selected by the Faculty of each School from more than 1,500 applicants, and come to the Institute for periods from one term to a few years, most staying for one year. All Members, whether emerging scholars or scientists at the beginning of their careers or established researchers, are selected on the basis of their outstanding achievements and promise.

History


The Institute was founded in 1930 by Louis Bamberger
Louis Bamberger
Louis Bamberger was Newark, New Jersey's leading citizen from the early 1900s until his death in 1944. He was a businessman and philanthropist and at his death all flags in Newark were flown at half-staff for three days, and his large department store closed for a day.Louis Bamberger was born in...

 and Caroline Bamberger Fuld
Caroline Bamberger Fuld
Caroline Frank Fuld was an American businesswoman and philanthropist most noted for co-founding the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey....

 with the proceeds from their department store in Newark, New Jersey
Newark, New Jersey
Newark is the largest city in the American state of New Jersey, and the seat of Essex County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Newark had a population of 277,140, maintaining its status as the largest municipality in New Jersey. It is the 68th largest city in the U.S...

. The founding of the institute was fraught with brushes against near-disaster; the Bamberger siblings pulled their money out of the market just before the Crash of 1929, and their original intent was to express their gratitude to the state of New Jersey through the founding of a medical school. It was the intervention of their friend Dr. Abraham Flexner
Abraham Flexner
Abraham Flexner was an American educator. His Flexner Report, published in 1910, reformed medical education in the United States...

, the prominent education theorist, that convinced them to put their money in the service of more abstract research. Growing anti-semitism at neighboring Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 also helped to convince the Bambergers (who, like Flexner, were Jewish) that an independent institute might serve a useful role. Indeed, many of the Institute's original faculty were Jewish, soon including prominent scholars fleeing Nazi Europe such as Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

, John von Neumann
John von Neumann
John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath who made major contributions to a vast number of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, geometry, fluid dynamics, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis,...

, Hermann Weyl
Hermann Weyl
Hermann Klaus Hugo Weyl was a German mathematician and theoretical physicist. Although much of his working life was spent in Zürich, Switzerland and then Princeton, he is associated with the University of Göttingen tradition of mathematics, represented by David Hilbert and Hermann Minkowski.His...

 (whose wife was Jewish), and, later, André Weil
André Weil
André Weil was an influential mathematician of the 20th century, renowned for the breadth and quality of his research output, its influence on future work, and the elegance of his exposition. He is especially known for his foundational work in number theory and algebraic geometry...

.

Criticism


The Institute's founding premise, that individuals with lifetime tenure and no assigned duties will produce the most outstanding scholarship, is not universally shared. For example,
In 2000, the Institute sued in federal court, seeking to compel one of its tenured professors to resign on grounds of poor productivity (see Piet Hut
Piet Hut
Piet Hut is a Dutch astrophysicist who has made his career in the United States. Hut is Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He was born in Utrecht in The Netherlands....

). While this action may have been intended to counter views such as the above by demonstrating a corrective ability, it resulted in a wave of unfavorable publicity. The case was settled out of court, and Hut remained an Institute professor.

Directors

  • Abraham Flexner
    Abraham Flexner
    Abraham Flexner was an American educator. His Flexner Report, published in 1910, reformed medical education in the United States...

     was the institute's first director (1930–1939)
  • Frank Aydelotte
    Frank Aydelotte
    Frank Aydelotte was a U.S. educator. His full name was Franklin Ridgeway Aydelotte. He is known for redefining Swarthmore College as an institution while he was president between 1921 and 1940 and was also the director of the Institute for Advanced Study from 1939 until 1947.Aydelotte was born in...

    , the second director, (1939–1947)
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer, (1947–1966)
  • Carl Kaysen
    Carl Kaysen
    Carl Kaysen was an economist and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-chair of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Committee on International Security Studies. He is the father of Girl, Interrupted author Susanna Kaysen. He was married for 50 years to Annette Neutra...

    , (1966–1976)
  • Harry Woolf
    Harry Woolf (historian)
    Harry Woolf was an American educator and historian of science who served as provost of The Johns Hopkins University and was later the fifth Director of the Institute for Advanced Study....

    , (1976–1987)
  • Marvin L. Goldberger, (1987–1991)
  • Phillip Griffiths
    Phillip Griffiths
    Phillip Griffiths is an American mathematician, known for his work in the field of geometry, and in particular for the complex manifold approach to algebraic geometry. He was a major developer in particular of the theory of variation of Hodge structure in Hodge theory and moduli theory.He received...

    , (1991–2003)
  • Peter Goddard (2004–2012)
  • Robbert Dijkgraaf
    Robbert Dijkgraaf
    Robertus Henricus "Robbert" Dijkgraaf is a Dutch mathematical physicist and string theorist.Robertus Henricus Dijkgraaf was born on 24 January 1960 in Ridderkerk, Netherlands. He currently lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands...

     (2012-future)

Faculty


The Institute has been the workplace of some of the most renowned thinkers in the world, including Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

, Paul Dirac
Paul Dirac
Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, OM, FRS was an English theoretical physicist who made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics...

, Kurt Gödel
Kurt Gödel
Kurt Friedrich Gödel was an Austrian logician, mathematician and philosopher. Later in his life he emigrated to the United States to escape the effects of World War II. One of the most significant logicians of all time, Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the...

, Clifford Geertz
Clifford Geertz
Clifford James Geertz was an American anthropologist who is remembered mostly for his strong support for and influence on the practice of symbolic anthropology, and who was considered "for three decades...the single most influential cultural anthropologist in the United States." He served until...

, T. D. Lee
Tsung-Dao Lee
Tsung-Dao Lee is a Chinese born-American physicist, well known for his work on parity violation, the Lee Model, particle physics, relativistic heavy ion physics, nontopological solitons and soliton stars....

 and C. N. Yang, J. Robert Oppenheimer, John von Neumann
John von Neumann
John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath who made major contributions to a vast number of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, geometry, fluid dynamics, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis,...

, Freeman J. Dyson
Freeman Dyson
Freeman John Dyson FRS is a British-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum field theory, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. Dyson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists...

, Hassler Whitney
Hassler Whitney
Hassler Whitney was an American mathematician. He was one of the founders of singularity theory, and did foundational work in manifolds, embeddings, immersions, and characteristic classes.-Work:...

, André Weil
André Weil
André Weil was an influential mathematician of the 20th century, renowned for the breadth and quality of his research output, its influence on future work, and the elegance of his exposition. He is especially known for his foundational work in number theory and algebraic geometry...

, Hermann Weyl
Hermann Weyl
Hermann Klaus Hugo Weyl was a German mathematician and theoretical physicist. Although much of his working life was spent in Zürich, Switzerland and then Princeton, he is associated with the University of Göttingen tradition of mathematics, represented by David Hilbert and Hermann Minkowski.His...

, Harish-Chandra
Harish-Chandra
Harish-Chandra was an Indian mathematician, who did fundamental work in representation theory, especially Harmonic analysis on semisimple Lie groups. -Life:...

, Joan W. Scott, Frank Wilczek
Frank Wilczek
Frank Anthony Wilczek is a theoretical physicist from the United States and a Nobel laureate. He is currently the Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ....

, Edward Witten
Edward Witten
Edward Witten is an American theoretical physicist with a focus on mathematical physics who is currently a professor of Mathematical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study....

, Albert O. Hirschman
Albert O. Hirschman
Albert Otto Hirschman is an influential economist who has authored several books on political economy and political ideology. His first major contribution was in the area of development economics. Here he emphasized the need for unbalanced growth...

, Nima Arkani-Hamed
Nima Arkani-Hamed
Nima Arkani-Hamed is a leading Canadian American theoretical physicist with interests in high-energy physics, string theory and cosmology....

, George F. Kennan
George F. Kennan
George Frost Kennan was an American adviser, diplomat, political scientist and historian, best known as "the father of containment" and as a key figure in the emergence of the Cold War...

, and Yve-Alain Bois
Yve-Alain Bois
Yve-Alain Bois is an historian and critic of modern art. Yve-Alain Bois was born on April 16, 1952 in Constantine, Algeria.-Education:...

.

In addition to faculty, who have permanent appointments, scholars are appointed as "Members" of the Institute for a period of several months to several years. Some 190 members are now selected annually. This includes both younger and well-established natural scientists and social scientists. A Community of Scholars is a database of scholars and scientists affiliated with the Institute since its founding. While a basic listing of names and dates is publicly available, extended profiles are accessible to former Members, who can log in to update their own data and view more detailed information of their colleagues and/or other IAS-affiliated scholars.

Further reading

  • Ed Regis, Who Got Einstein's Office: Eccentricity and Genius at the Institute for Advanced Study (Addison-Wesley, Reading, 1987)
  • Björn Wittrock, Institutes for Advanced Study: Ideas, Histories, Rationales (pdf file)
  • Naomi Pasachoff, "Science's 'Intellectual Hotel': The Institute for Advanced Study," 1992 Encyclopædia Britannica Yearbook of Science and the Future, 472–488
  • Steve Batterson, "Pursuit of Genius: Flexner, Einstein, and the Early Faculty at the Institute for Advanced Study" (A. K. Peters, Ltd., Wellesley, MA, 2006)
  • Joan Wallach Scott and Debra Keates, eds., Schools of Thought: Twenty-five Years of Interpretive Social Science. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. A collection of reflective pieces by former fellows at the Institute's School for Social Science.
  • Institute for Advanced Study(pdf file) (Institute for Advanced Study, 2005). An historical overview of the Institute, published on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Institute and updated in 2009.

External links