public lecture

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.

Art History Lecture Series, Orientations in Renaissance Art

Alexander Nagel
New York University
December 9, 2013
In this lecture, Alexander Nagel, Professor of Fine Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, illustrates some ways in which art produced during the Renaissance period points ­eastward towards Constantinople, towards the Holy Land, and to places further east, even as far as China. Nagel focuses on the forms this "orientation" took between 1492-1507, years during which new lands were being discovered, to great fanfare, but were still believed to belong to the continent of Asia.

Rethinking Barbarian Invasions through Genomic History

Patrick Geary
School of Historical Studies
November 13, 2013
Historians have debated for centuries the magnitude, nature, and impact of population movements from the borders of the Roman Empire into its heart between the fourth and seventh centuries. In recent years, geneticists have begun to attempt to provide clarity to these questions through the analysis of the biological data contained in the human genome.

The Age of Networks

Jennifer Chayes
Distinguished Scientist and Managing Director Microsoft Research New England and New York City
November 8, 2013

In this talk, Jennifer Chayes, Distinguished Scientist and Managing Director of Microsoft Research New England and New York City, looks quite generally at some of the models we are using to describe ­networks, processes we are studying on the networks, ­algorithms we have devised for the networks, and finally, methods we are developing to indirectly infer network structure from measured data. In particular, she discusses models and techniques that cut across many disciplinary boundaries.