public lecture

An Antidote to the Politics of Despair

Deva Woodly
May 13, 2016
Enabling Conceptions of Justice and the Democratic Necessity of Insurgency

Using the work of Iris Young, Amartya Sen, and John Dewey, along with the empirical case of the contemporary Movement for Black Lives, Deva Woodly, Member (2012–13) and Assistant Professor of Politics at The New School, will develop the argument that both the idea of justice and citizens themselves benefit from democratic insurgencies that emerge from ordinary people and challenge prevailing notions about existing arrangements of power and privilege.

Math in the Real World: More Than Just a Numbers Game

Sandi Peterson and Kathy Wengel
May 11, 2016
Mathematics has a vital role in shaping a product’s life, from research & development to manufacturing, and from marketing to supply chain. In this public lecture, Institute Trustee Sandi Peterson and Kathy Wengel, both Princeton alumnae, will explore the importance of mathematics throughout the lifecycle of some of Johnson & Johnson’s best known brands while sharing their experience of the impact of mathematics on the critical success factors of a modern career.

Picasso and Abstraction: Encounters and Avoidance

Yve-Alain Bois
Professor, School of Historical Studies
April 6, 2016
Pablo Picasso did not speak often about abstraction, but when he did, it was either to dismiss it as complacent decoration or to declare its very notion an oxymoron. The root of this hostility is to be found in the impasse that the artist reached in the summer 1910, when abstraction suddenly appeared as the logical development of his previous work, a possibility at which he recoiled in horror. But though he swore to never go again near abstraction, he could not prevent himself from testing his resolve from time to time.

Do We Understand Putin's Russia?

Jonathan Haslam
George F. Kennan Professor in the School of Historical Studies
November 7, 2015
We should not assume that making sense of post-Soviet Russia was ever going to be easy. Great Powers that lose empires bear grudges and the speed with which an empire is lost can exacerbate the problem. No one can expect that a powerful country run by a former secret policeman is going to operate by the same rules of the game to which we are accustomed. Quite simply, what may seem sensible or rational to ourselves is irrelevant. In this public lecture, Jonathan Haslam, George F.

Of Particles, Stars, and Eternity

Cédric Villani
Université Lyon and Institut Henri Poincaré
April 14, 2015
Can one predict the future arrangements of planets over extremely large time periods? For centuries this issue has triggered dreams of curious people, and hot debates by specialists including Newton, Lagrange, Poincare, Kolmogorov, Laskar, and Tremaine. Villani explores the long time behavior of a plasma, evoking the advances which he made with Mouhot a few years ago, and continuing with the subject of long time stability for incompressible fluids.

Restoration as Event and Idea: Art in Europe, 1814‒1820

Thomas Crow
Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
April 10, 2015
Crow examines the displaced and wandering existences of Jacques-Louis David and Théodore Géricault, both in geographical and psychological exile, during which each was forced to reexamine and reconfigure the fundamentals of his artistic life. The lecture is the third in the series of talks under the theme of “Restoration as Event and Idea: Art in Europe, 1814–1820” which is part of the sixty-fourth A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts at the National Gallery of Art. This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Institute.

Ancient Human Genomes Suggest Three Ancestral Populations for Present-Day Europeans

Johannes Krause
Professor of Archaeology and Paleogenetics at the University of Tübingen and Director of the Max Plank Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena
March 19, 2015
In this lecture, Krause explores the methods used to investigate European population history about the time of agricultural transition. Using genome data, Krause explains how at least three ancestral groups, the Hunter-Gathers, the Early Farmers and the Ancient North Eurasians, contributed genetic material to present-day Europeans. Krause also discusses these three ancestral populations discovered from this data and explores their connection to present-day Europeans.


Dan Ariely
Duke University
May 9, 2014
In this lecture, Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and former Member (2005-07) in the School of Social Science, will discuss how the principles of behavioral economics can help us understand some of our irrational tendencies, specifically the mechanisms at work behind dishonest behavior. According to Ariely, one of the most interesting lessons is understanding our capacity to think of ourselves as honest even when we act dishonestly.

Malevich's Nervous System

Briony Fer
University of College London
February 4, 2014
In this lecture, Briony Fer, Professor of History of Art at University College London, will look at Malevich's systemic method, as it was elaborated in his work, writings, and teachings, and its ongoing relevance for subsequent generations of artists. Malevich's late work is examined as an intricate set of reflections on some of the problems raised by the systems that he set in the 1910s.