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The Institute for Advanced Study, located in Princeton, New Jerseymarker, United States, is a center for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. The Institute is perhaps best known as the academic home of Albert Einstein, John von Neumann, and Kurt Gödel, after their immigration to the United Statesmarker. Other famous scholars who have worked at the institute include Edward Witten, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Freeman Dyson, Erwin Panofsky, Homer A. Thompson, George Kennan, Hermann Weyl, Paul Erdős, Michael Atiyah, and Michael Walzer. There have subsequently been other Institutes of Advanced Study, which are based on a similar model.

Since its founding, the Institute has no formal links to Princeton Universitymarker or other educational institutions, although it has enjoyed close, collaborative ties with Princeton. It was founded in 1930 by philanthropists Louis Bamberger and Caroline Bamberger Fuld; the first Director was Abraham Flexner. The current Director is Peter Goddard.

The Institute is divided into four Schools: Historical Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social Science, with a more recent program in systems biology. It consists of a permanent faculty of 29, and each year awards fellowships to 190 visiting Members, from over 100 universities and research institutions. Individuals apply to become Members at the Institute, and each of the Schools have their own application procedures and deadlines. Members are selected by the Faculty of each School from more than 1,500 applicants, and come to the Institute for periods from one term to a few years, most staying for one year. All Members, whether emerging scholars or scientists at the beginning of their careers or established researchers, are selected on the basis of their outstanding achievements and promise.


There are no degree programs or experimental facilities at the Institute, and research is funded by endowments, grants and gifts — it does not support itself with tuition or fees. Research is never contracted or directed; it is left to each individual researcher to pursue his or her own goals.

It is not part of any educational institution; however, the proximity of Princeton University (less than three miles from its science departments to the Institute complex) means that informal ties are close and a large number of collaborations have arisen over the years. (The Institute was actually housed within Princeton University—in the building since called Jones Hall, which was then Princeton's mathematics department—for 6 years, from its opening in 1933, until Fuld Hall was finished and opened in 1939. This helped start an incorrect impression that it was part of Princeton, one that has never been completely eradicated.)


The Institute was founded in 1930 by Louis Bamberger and Caroline Bamberger Fuld with the proceeds from their department store in Newark, New Jerseymarker. The founding of the institute was fraught with brushes against near-disaster; the Bamberger siblings pulled their money out of the stock market just before the Stock Market Crash of 1929, and their original intent was to express their gratitude to the state of New Jersey through the founding of a medical school. It was the intervention of their friend Dr. Abraham Flexner, the prominent education theorist, that convinced them to put their money in the service of more abstract research.




The Institute has been the workplace of some of the most renowned thinkers in the world, including Albert Einstein, Kurt Gödel, Clifford Geertz, T. D. Lee and C. N. Yang, J. Robert Oppenheimer, John von Neumann, Freeman J. Dyson, Hassler Whitney, André Weil, Hermann Weyl, Harish-Chandra, Joan W. Scott, Frank Wilczek, Edward Witten, Albert O. Hirschman, and George F. Kennan. (For more, see List of faculty members at the Institute for Advanced Study.)

In addition to faculty, who have permanent appointments, scholars are appointed as "members" of the Institute for a period of several months to several years. Some 190 members are now selected annually. This includes both younger and well-established natural scientists and social scientists.

Other Institutes for Advanced Study

There are numerous academic centres of varying status named as places for "Advanced Study" all over the world, but the Princeton, NJ-based Institute is the original institution upon which all the others were based. Some Institutes for Advanced Study (SIAS) is a consortium of such establishments.


Further reading

  • Ed Regis, Who Got Einstein's Office: Eccentricity and Genius at the Institute for Advanced Study (Addison-Wesley, Reading, 1987)
  • Björn Wittrock, Institutes for Advanced Study: Ideas, Histories, Rationales (pdf file)
  • Naomi Pasachoff, "Science's 'Intellectual Hotel': The Institute for Advanced Study," 1992 Encyclopaedia Britannica Yearbook of Science and the Future, 472-488
  • Steve Batterson, "Pursuit of Genius: Flexner, Einstein, and the Early Faculty at the Institute for Advanced Study" (A. K. Peters, Ltd., Wellesley, MA, 2006)
  • Joan Wallach Scott and Debra Keates, eds., Schools of Thought: Twenty-five Years of Interpretive Social Science. Princeton: Princeton University Pres, 2001. A collection of reflective pieces by former fellows at the Institute's School for Social Science.
  • Institute for Advanced Study(pdf file) (Institute for Advanced Study, 2005). An historical overview of the Institute, published on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Institute.

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