Prospects in Theoretical Physics is an intensive two-week summer program designed for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars considering a career in theoretical physics. The 2009 program took place from July 13 to July 24. First held by the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in the summer of 2002, the PiTP program is designed to provide lecture courses and informal sessions on the latest advances and open questions in various areas of theoretical physics.
Is the Qur’an an exclusively Islamic text? In this talk, Angelika Neuwirth, a Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin and a Member (2009) in the School of Historical Studies, contends that it is both Islamic and late antique. Before the Qur’an was recognized as Muslim scripture it was communicated to an audience whose education was based on late-antique traditions—Judeo-Christian, Hellenic, and Arabian. Read as a movement within this triangle, the Qur’an turns out to be a Near Eastern–European text.
Support for this lecture was provided by the Dr. S. T. Lee Fund for Historical Studies.
In a talk sponsored by the Einstein Legacy Society, Brett Hammond, Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer, TIAA-CREF, addresses financial markets, the downturn and current outlook, and what investors can do to help assure that their plans remain on track.
For the past decade, the Institute’s Science Initiative Group (SIG) has worked with the World Bank and other partners to strengthen science in developing nations. In this talk, Phillip Griffiths, who helped create SIG when he was Director of the Institute from 1991 to 2003, will address the context for and evolution of SIG’s programs, with emphasis on the new Carnegie–IAS Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE), which prepares Ph.D.-level scientists and engineers in sub-Saharan Africa through university-based research and training networks.
Barry O'Neill, Leon Levy Foundation Member, School of Social Science. Many of the world’s societies function by codes of honor. Violence between ethnic groups or countries often follows the rules of honor among individuals, in particular among males. In general this means willingness to face risk to defend the group, to take vengeance, and to make clear to others that one values honor. Points of honor vary across cultures, however. In this lecture, Barry O’Neill, Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, will argue that in a dispute, a state must understand its rival’s honor code even if it rejects it. O’Neill uses game theory to study international decision-making with a view to preventing war.
Although the concept of randomness is ubiquitous, it turns out to be difficult to generate a truly random sequence of events. The need for “pseudorandomness” in various parts of modern science, ranging from numerical simulation to cryptography, has challenged our limited understanding of this issue and our mathematical resources. In this talk, Professor Jean Bourgain explores some of the problems of pseudorandomness and tools to address them.
This lecture considers two ancient Mesopotamian monuments, the stele of Naramsin and the Law Code of Hammurabi. Combining archaeological and formal analyses of these monuments with the perspective of philosophy and critical theory via the writings of Giorgio Agamben, Walter Benjamin, and Jacques Derrida, Bahrani turns to the larger theoretical question of the life span of images and the efficacy of works of art. Rather than taking the two monuments as antiquities isolated in space and time from their own cultural context, Bahrani argues that they are also timeless works of art that reflect on the relationship of law and the state of exception, and the very ancient tie between absolute political power and biopolitics. The respondent for the lecture was Beate Pongratz-Leisten, Lecturer in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. The lecture is part of the Art as Knowledge series, which features talks by leading art historians on the subject of how art develops and conveys knowledge.
Peter Paret, Professor Emeritus in the School of Historical Studies, will discuss aspects of the work of the sculptor and dramatist Ernst Barlach, a major figure in German modernism. As independent in his politics as in his art, he opposed National Socialism on grounds of common decency, was included in the Degenerate Art Exhibition, and died in 1938 a forbidden but unrepentant modernist.