The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) located 1 Einstein Drive, Princeton, New Jersey, in the United States, is an independent, postdoctoral research center for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry founded in 1930 by American educator Abraham Flexner, together with philanthropists Louis Bamberger and Caroline Bamberger Fuld.
The IAS is perhaps best known as the academic home of Albert Einstein, Hermann Weyl, John von Neumann and Kurt Gödel, after their immigration to the United States. Although it is close to and collaborates with Princeton University, Rutgers University, and other nearby institutions, it is independent and does not charge tuition or fees.
Flexner's guiding principle in founding the Institute was the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. The faculty have no classes to teach. There are no degree programs or experimental facilities at the Institute. Research is never contracted or directed. It is left to each individual researcher to pursue their own goals. Established during the rise of European fascism, the IAS played a key role in the transfer of intellectual capital from Europe to America and soon acquired a reputation at the pinnacle of academic and scientific life—a reputation it has retained.
It is supported entirely by endowments, grants, and gifts, and is one of the eight American mathematics institutes funded by the National Science Foundation. It is the model for the other eight members of the consortium Some Institutes for Advanced Study.
The institute consists of four schools—Historical Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences; there is also a program in theoretical biology.
|Institute for Advanced Study|
|Motto||Truth and Beauty|
|Endowment||$741 million (2014)|
The Institute was founded in 1930 by Abraham Flexner, together with philanthropists Louis Bamberger and Caroline Bamberger Fuld. Flexner was interested in education generally and as early as 1890 he had founded an experimental school which had no formal curriculum, exams, or grades. It was a great success at preparing students for prestigious colleges and this same philosophy would later guide him in the founding of the Institute for Advanced Study. Flexner's study of medical schools, the 1910 Flexner Report, played a major role in the reform of medical education. Flexner had studied European schools such as Heidelberg University, All Souls College, Oxford, and the Collège de France–and he wanted to establish a similar advanced research center in the United States.
In his autobiography Abraham Flexner reports a phone call which he received in the fall of 1929 from representatives of the Bamberger siblings that led to their partnership and the eventual founding of the IAS:
I was working quietly one day when the telephone rang and I was asked to see two gentlemen who wished to discuss with me the possible uses to which a considerable sum of money might be placed. At our interview, I informed them that my competency was limited to the education field and that in this field it seemed to me that the time was ripe for the creation in America of an institute in the field of general scholarship and science, resembling the Rockefeller Institute in the field of medicine—developed by my brother Simon—not a graduate school, training men in the known and to some extent in methods of research, but an institute where everyone—faculty and members—took for granted what was known and published, and in their individual ways, endeavored to advance the frontiers of knowledge.
The Bamberger siblings wanted to use the proceeds from the sale of their department store in Newark, New Jersey, to found a dental school as an expression of gratitude to the state of New Jersey. Flexner convinced them to put their money in the service of more abstract research. (There was a brush with near-disaster when the Bambergers pulled their money out of the market just before the Crash of 1929.) The eminent topologist Oswald Veblen at Princeton University, who had long been trying to found a high-level research institute in mathematics, urged Flexner to locate the new institute near Princeton where it would be close to an existing center of learning and a world-class library. In 1932 Veblen resigned from Princeton and became the first professor in the new Institute for Advanced Study. He selected most of the original faculty and also helped the Institute acquire land in Princeton for both the original facility and future expansion.
Flexner and Veblen set out to recruit the best mathematicians and physicists they could find. The rise of fascism and the associated anti-semitism forced many prominent mathematicians to flee Europe and some, such as Einstein and Hermann Weyl (whose wife was Jewish), found a home at the new institute. Weyl as a condition of accepting insisted that the Institute also appoint the thirty-year-old Austrian-Hungarian polymath John von Neumann. Indeed, the IAS became the key lifeline for scholars fleeing Europe. Einstein was Flexner's first coup and shortly after that he was followed by Veblen's brilliant student James Alexander and the wunderkind of logic Kurt Gödel. Flexner was fortunate in the luminaries he directly recruited but also in the people that they brought along with them. Thus, by 1934 the fledgeling institute was led by six of the most prominent mathematicians in the world. In 1935 quantum physics pioneer Wolfgang Pauli became a faculty member. With the opening of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton replaced Göttingen as the leading center for mathematics in the twentieth century.
For the 6 years from its opening in 1933, until Fuld Hall was finished and opened in 1939, the Institute was housed within Princeton University—in Fine Hall, which housed Princeton's mathematics department. Princeton University's science departments are less than two miles away and informal ties and collaboration between the two institutions occurred from the beginning. This helped start an incorrect impression that it was part of the University, one that has never been completely eradicated.
On June 4, 1930, the Bambergers wrote as follows to the Institute's Trustees:
It is fundamental in our purpose, and our express desire, that in the appointments to the staff and faculty, as well as in the admission of workers and students, no account shall be taken, directly or indirectly, of race, religion, or sex. We feel strongly that the spirit characteristic of America at its noblest, above all the pursuit of higher learning, cannot admit of any conditions as to personnel other than those designed to promote the objects for which this institution is established, and particularly with no regard whatever to accidents of race, creed, or sex.
Bamberger's policy did not prevent racial discrimination by Princeton. When African American mathematician William S. Claytor applied to the IAS in 1937, Princeton University said they "would not permit any coloured person to go to the Institute for Advanced Study." It was not until 1939, when the institute had moved into its own building, that Veblen was able to offer Claytor a position; but this time Claytor turned it down on principle.
Flexner had successfully assembled a faculty of unrivaled prestige in the School of Mathematics which officially opened in 1933. He sought to equal this success in the founding of schools of economics and humanities but this proved to be more difficult. The School of Humanistic Studies and the School of Economics and Politics were established in 1935. All three schools along with the office of the Director moved into the newly built Fuld Hall in 1939. (Ultimately the schools of Humanistic Studies and Economics and Politics were merged into the present day School of Historical Studies established in 1949.) In the beginning, the School of Mathematics included physicists as well as mathematicians. A separate School of Natural Sciences was not established until 1966. The School of Social Science was founded in 1973.
In a 1939 essay Flexner emphasized how James Clerk Maxwell, driven only by a desire to know, did abstruse calculations in the field of magnetism and electricity and that these investigations led in a direct line to the entire electrical development of modern times. Citing Maxwell and other theoretical scientists such as Gauss, Faraday, Ehrlich and Einstein, Flexner said, "Throughout the whole history of science most of the really great discoveries which have ultimately proved to be beneficial to mankind have been made by men and women who were driven not by the desire to be useful but merely the desire to satisfy their curiosity."
The IAS Bluebook says:
The Institute for Advanced Study is one of the few institutions in the world where the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake is the ultimate raison d'être. Speculative research, the kind that is fundamental to the advancement of human understanding of the world of nature and of humanity, is not a product that can be made to order. Rather, like artistic creativity, it benefits from a special environment.
This was the belief to which Abraham Flexner, the founding Director of the Institute, held passionately, and which continues to inspire the Institute today; Flexner wrote,
From the day it opened the IAS had a major impact on mathematics, physics, economic theory, and world affairs. In mathematics forty-two out of sixty-one Fields Medalists have been affiliated with the Institute. Thirty-three Nobel Laureates have been working at the IAS. Of the sixteen Abel Prizes awarded since the establishment of that award in 2003, nine were garnered by Institute professors or visiting scholars. Of the fifty-six Cole Prizes awarded since the establishment of that award in 1928, thirty-nine have gone to scholars associated with the IAS at some point in their career. IAS people have won 20 Wolf Prizes in mathematics and physics. Its more than 6,000 former members hold positions of intellectual and scientific leadership throughout the academic world.
Pioneering work on the theory of the stored-program computer as laid down by Alan Turing was done at the IAS by John von Neumann, and the IAS machine built in the basement of the Fuld Hall from 1942 to 1951 under von Neumann's direction introduced the basic architecture of all modern digital computers. The IAS is the leading center of research in string theory and its generalization M-theory introduced by Edward Witten at the IAS in 1995. The Langlands program, a far-reaching approach which unites parts of geometry, mathematical analysis, and number theory was introduced by Robert Langlands, the mathematician who now occupies Albert Einstein's old office at the institute. Langlands was inspired by the work of Hermann Weyl, André Weil, and Harish-Chandra, all scholars with wide-ranging ties to the Institute, and the IAS maintains the key repository for the papers of Langlands and the Langlands program. The IAS is a main center of research for homotopy type theory, a modern approach to the foundations of mathematics which is not based on classical set theory. A special year organized by Institute professor Vladimir Voevodsky and others resulted in a benchmark book in the subject which was published by the Institute in 2013.
The Institute is or has been the academic home of many of the best minds of their generation. Among them are James Waddell Alexander II, Michael Atiyah, Enrico Bombieri, Shiing-Shen Chern, Pierre Deligne, Freeman J. Dyson, Albert Einstein, Clifford Geertz, Kurt Gödel, Albert Hirschman, George F. Kennan, Tsung-Dao Lee, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Erwin Panofsky, Atle Selberg, John von Neumann, André Weil, Hermann Weyl, Frank Wilczek, Edward Witten, Chen-Ning Yang and Shing-Tung Yau.
Flexner's vision of the kind of results that can emerge in an institution devoted to the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake is illustrated by the "Special Year" programs sponsored by the IAS School of Mathematics. For example, in 2012–13 researchers at the IAS school of mathematics held A Special Year on Univalent Foundations of Mathematics. Intuitionistic type theory was created by the Swedish logician Per Martin-Löf's in 1972 to serve as an alternative to set theory as a foundation for mathematics. The special year brought together researchers in topology, computer science, category theory, and mathematical logic with the goal of formalizing and extending this theory of foundations. The program was organized by Steve Awodey, Thierry Coquand and Vladimir Voevodsky, and resulted in a book being published in homotopy type theory. The authors—more than 30 researchers ultimately contributed to the project—noted the essential contribution of the IAS saying,
Special thanks are due to the Institute for Advanced Study, without which this book would obviously never have come to be. It proved to be an ideal setting for the creation of this new branch of mathematics: stimulating, congenial, and supportive. May some trace of this unique atmosphere linger in the pages of this book, and in the future development of this new field of study.— The Univalent Foundations Program, Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, April 2013
One of the researchers, Andrej Bauer said,
We are a group of two dozen mathematicians who wrote a 600 page book in less than half a year. This is quite amazing, since mathematicians do not normally work together in large groups. But more importantly, the spirit of collaboration that pervaded our group at the Institute for Advanced Study was truly amazing. We did not fragment. We talked, shared ideas, explained things to each other, and completely forgot who did what.— Andrej Bauer, Mathematics and Computation, June 20, 2013
The book, informally known as The HoTT book, is freely available online.
The Institute's founding premise, that individuals with lifetime tenure and no assigned duties will produce the most outstanding scholarship, is not universally shared. One critic was Richard Feynman, who argued that the IAS does not offer real activity or challenge:
When I was at Princeton in the 1940s I could see what happened to those great minds at the Institute for Advanced Study, who had been specially selected for their tremendous brains and were now given this opportunity to sit in this lovely house by the woods there, with no classes to teach, with no obligations whatsoever. These poor bastards could now sit and think clearly all by themselves, OK? So they don't get any ideas for a while: They have every opportunity to do something, and they're not getting any ideas. I believe that in a situation like this a kind of guilt or depression worms inside of you, and you begin to worry about not getting any ideas. And nothing happens. Still no ideas come. Nothing happens because there's not enough real activity and challenge: You're not in contact with the experimental guys. You don't have to think how to answer questions from the students. Nothing!— Richard Feynman, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, 1985
The IAS in Princeton is widely recognized as the world's first Institute for Advanced Study. Despite later imitators of the Institute's model, it took years before any similar institutions were founded. The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford was the first such spinoff in 1954. This was followed by the National Humanities Center founded in North Carolina in 1978. These two institutions eventually became the core of a consortium known as Some Institutes for Advanced Study (SIAS). The SIAS includes the original institute in Princeton and eight other institutes founded explicitly to emulate the model of the original IAS. These nine Institutes for Advanced Study are:
In recent years there have been other institutes loosely based on the Princeton original, in some cases established with help from IAS professors. In 1997 IAS professor Chen-Ning Yang helped the Chinese set up the Institute for Advanced Study at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies in Freiburg, Germany was founded in 2007, with IAS director at the time Peter Goddard giving the inaugural address. Princeton IAS professors André Weil and Armand Borel helped to establish close contacts with the Ramanujan Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics, founded in 1967 as part of the University of Madras in India.
The prestigious Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHÉS) founded in 1958 just south of Paris is universally acknowledged to be the French counterpart of the IAS in Princeton. Princeton Institute director Robert Oppenheimer had a close relationship with IHÉS founder Léon Motchane and played a major role in helping to get it established.
Neither the Princeton IAS nor SIAS is connected with, and should not be confused with, the Consortium of Institutes of Advanced Studies which comprises some twenty research institutes located throughout Great Britain and Ireland. The name Institute for Advanced Study, along with the acronym IAS, is also used by various other independent institutions throughout the world, some having little to do with the Princeton model. See Institute for Advanced Study (disambiguation) for a complete list.
At any given time, the IAS has a Faculty consisting of twenty-eight eminent academics who are appointed for life. Although the faculty do not teach classes (because there are no classes), they often do give lectures at their own initiative and have the title Professor along with the prestige associated with that title. Furthermore, they direct research and serve as the nucleus of a larger and generally younger group of scholars, whom they have the power to select and invite. Each year fellowships are awarded to about 190 visiting members from over 100 universities and research institutions who come to the Institute for periods from one term to a few years. Individuals must apply to become Members at the Institute, and each of the Schools has its own application procedures and deadlines.
|Directors of the IAS|
|J. Robert Oppenheimer||1947–1966|
|Marvin Leonard Goldberger||1987–1991|
Sir Andrew John Wiles (born 11 April 1953) is an English mathematician and a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford, specialising in number theory. He is best known for proving Fermat's Last Theorem, for which he was awarded the 2016 Abel Prize and the 2017 Copley Medal by the Royal Society. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2000, and in 2018 was appointed as the first Regius Professor of Mathematics at Oxford.Berlin Institute for Advanced Study
The Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin (German: Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin) is an interdisciplinary institute founded in 1981 in Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, dedicated to research projects in the natural and social sciences. It is modeled after the original IAS in Princeton, New Jersey and is a member of Some Institutes for Advanced Study.The purpose of the institute is to offer scholars and scientists the opportunity to concentrate on projects of their own choosing for one academic year, free from administrative duties. The institute embraces a balance of both distinguished senior scholars and promising younger researchers, drawn from a wide range of cultural backgrounds.David John Candlin
David John Candlin (born 1928, Croydon, Surrey) is an English physicist. He is known for developing the path integral formulation of the Fermionic field, inventing Grassmann integration for this purpose. He received his PhD from Cambridge University in 1955, and wrote his influential paper on Grassmann integration shortly thereafter. He was later appointed a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and retired from this post in 1995. He was at one time involved in collaborative work related to CERN.He married Rosemary Candlin in 1955.Edward Witten
Edward Witten (born August 26, 1951) is an American theoretical physicist and professor of mathematical physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
Witten is a researcher in string theory, quantum gravity, supersymmetric quantum field theories, and other areas of mathematical physics.
In addition to his contributions to physics, Witten's work has significantly impacted pure mathematics. In 1990, he became the first physicist to be awarded a Fields Medal by the International Mathematical Union, awarded for his 1981 proof of the positive energy theorem in general relativity.Gerd Faltings
Gerd Faltings (German: [ˈfaltɪŋs]; born 28 July 1954) is a German mathematician known for his work in arithmetic geometry.Herman Goldstine
Herman Heine Goldstine (September 13, 1913 – June 16, 2004) was a mathematician and computer scientist, who worked as the director of the IAS machine at Princeton University's Institute for Advanced Study, and helped to develop ENIAC, the first of the modern electronic digital computers. He subsequently worked for many years at IBM as an IBM Fellow, the company's most prestigious technical position.Jean Bourgain
Jean, Baron Bourgain (French: [buʁɡɛ̃]; 28 February 1954 – 22 December 2018) was a Belgian mathematician. He was a faculty member at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and, from 1985 until 1995, professor at Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques at Bures-sur-Yvette in France, and since 1994 at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey until 2018. He was an editor for the Annals of Mathematics. From 2012–2014, he was appointed a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley.Kunihiko Kodaira
Kunihiko Kodaira (小平 邦彦, Kodaira Kunihiko, 16 March 1915 – 26 July 1997) was a Japanese mathematician known for distinguished work in algebraic geometry and the theory of complex manifolds, and as the founder of the Japanese school of algebraic geometers. He was awarded a Fields Medal in 1954, being the first Japanese national to receive this honour.Michael Walzer
Michael Laban Walzer (; born 1935) is a prominent American political theorist and public intellectual. A professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) 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 Brandeis University. He has written books and essays on a wide range of topics—many in political ethics—including just and unjust wars, nationalism, ethnicity, Zionism, economic justice, social criticism, radicalism, tolerance, and political obligation. He is also a contributing editor to The New Republic. To date, he has written 27 books and published over 300 articles, essays, and book reviews in Dissent, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harpers, and many philosophical and political science journals.Nathan Seiberg
Nathan "Nati" Seiberg (; born September 22, 1956) is an Israeli American theoretical physicist who works on string theory. He is currently a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study
The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is an independent research institute in the field of the humanities and social and behavioural sciences founded in 1970. The Institute offers advanced research facility for international scholars of all of the humanities and social sciences. It is a member of Some Institutes for Advanced Study (SIAS) and the Network of European Institutes for Advanced Studies (NetIAS).Peter Goddard (physicist)
Peter Goddard CBE FRS (born 3 September 1945) is a mathematical physicist who works in string theory and conformal field theory. Among his many contributions to these fields is the Goddard–Thorn theorem (proved together with Charles Thorn).Peter Goldreich
Peter Goldreich (born July 14, 1939) is an American astrophysicist whose research focuses on celestial mechanics, planetary rings, helioseismology and neutron stars. He is currently the Lee DuBridge Professor of Astrophysics and Planetary Physics at California Institute of Technology. Since 2005 he has also been a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Asteroid 3805 Goldreich is named after him.RWTH Aachen University
RWTH Aachen University (German: [ɛɐ̯veːteːˌhaː ˈʔaːxn̩]) or Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen is a research university located in Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With more than 42,000 students enrolled in 144 study programs, it is the largest technical university in Germany.The university maintains close links to industry (one in five board members of German corporate groups has studied in Aachen) and accounts for the highest amount of third-party funds of all German universities in both absolute and relative terms per faculty member. In 2007, RWTH Aachen was chosen by the DFG as one of nine German Universities of Excellence for its future concept RWTH 2020: Meeting Global Challenges and additionally won funding for one graduate school and three clusters of excellence.
RWTH Aachen is a founding member of IDEA League, a strategic alliance of four leading universities of technology in Europe. The university is also a member of TU9, DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and the Top Industrial Managers for Europe network.Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard shares transformative ideas across the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The Institute comprises three programs:
The Radcliffe Institute Fellowship Program annually supports the work of 50 artists and scholars, with an acceptance rate of around 5 percent each year.
The Academic Ventures program is for collaborative research projects and hosts lectures and conferences.
The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America documents the lives of American women of the past and present for the future.The Radcliffe Institute hosts public events, many of which can be watched online. It is one of the nine member institutions of the Some Institutes for Advanced Study consortium. Tomiko Brown-Nagin—the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law and codirector of the Program in Law and History at Harvard Law School, a professor of history at the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and faculty director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice—is the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.Ramanujan Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics
Ramanujan Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics (RIASM) is the Department of Mathematics of University of Madras. This name was adopted in 1967.Richard Taylor (mathematician)
Richard Lawrence Taylor (born 19 May 1962) is a British and American mathematician working in the field of number theory. He is currently a professor of mathematics at Stanford University and the Institute for Advanced Study.Taylor received the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics "for numerous breakthrough results in the theory of automorphic forms, including the Taniyama–Weil conjecture, the local Langlands conjecture for general linear groups, and the Sato–Tate conjecture." He also received the 2007 Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences for his work on the Langlands program with Robert Langlands.Robbert Dijkgraaf
Robertus Henricus "Robbert" Dijkgraaf FRSE (Dutch: [roːˈbɛrtʏs ɦɛnˈrikʏs ˈrɔbərt ˈdɛikɣraːf]; born 24 January 1960) is a Dutch mathematical physicist and string theorist. He is the director and Leon Levy professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and a tenured professor at the University of Amsterdam.Sandi Peterson
Sandi Peterson (born 1959) is an American businesswoman and has been group worldwide chairman at Johnson & Johnson since 2012. She previously held leadership positions at Bayer Medical Care, Medco Health Solutions, Nabisco and Whirlpool Corporation.
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