Videos at IAS
Many of the public lectures, conferences, seminars, and workshops that have been held at the Institute for Advanced Study are available for viewing on these pages. Selected talks are highlighted below, and you may also search for others by subject, School, or year via the side menu.
Cellular telephones, GPS, radar imaging, and most other modern wireless systems would not exist without the sophisticated mathematical and digital techniques that are used to encode and decode their messages. These “spread spectrum” methods, under continuous development since the 1960s, have facilitated spectacular improvements in the performance and reliability of wireless communications. In this lecture, Mark Goresky, Long-term Member in the School of Mathematics, explores how, to some extent, the origins of spread spectrum can be traced back to an unlikely collaboration in 1942 between a glamorous Hollywood film star and a renegade composer from Trenton, New Jersey.
View more talks related to the School of Mathematics.
An institution dating from antiquity whose formal recognition culminates with the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, asylum has been confronted with a dramatic increase in applicants during the past century. However, this burden has been unevenly distributed worldwide: refugees are massively concentrated in camps of the global South, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia, whereas asylum seekers are selected via a form of casuistry in the global North, under the pressure of growing suspicion toward so-called bogus refugees. Drawing on ten years of research, this lecture by Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, examines the significant changes to the conception of the right to asylum in recent decades and the ordeal faced by applicants as they go through complex administrative and judiciary procedures in an attempt to have their status acknowledged. Beyond the study of the refugee problem, the analysis proposes an inquiry into the question of truth—that of the asylum seekers as well as that of contemporary societies in their endeavor to define and circumscribe the responsibility to protect the victims of violence.
View more talks related to the School of Social Science.
Does the world embody beautiful ideas? This is a question that people have thought about for a long time. Pythagoras and Plato intuited that the world should embody beautiful ideas; Newton and Maxwell demonstrated how the world could embody beautiful ideas, in specific impressive cases. Finally in the twentieth century in modern physics, and especially in quantum physics, we find a definitive answer: Yes! The world does embody beautiful ideas. In this special lecture, Frank Wilczek presents the intellectual history of this question and discusses how esthetic considerations continue to guide our search for ultimate physical laws.
View more talks related to the School of Natural Sciences.
Most violent conflicts today are fought within states, and many are related to identity. They are, therefore, inextricably linked to how people perceive their history. How political leaders view and use history and historical narratives, often as the foundation for their claims, has a great impact on negotiations and can hold a peace process hostage. In this lecture, Michael van Walt van Praag, Visiting Professor in the School of Historical Studies, offers a mediator’s perspective on ways to examine pertinent historical events and historiography in order to facilitate a change in the way negotiators relate to the other party’s history, as well as to their own. In so doing, he also considers the relation of modern international law and the nation-state concept to today’s conflicts.
View more talks related to the School of Historical Studies.