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Nestled in a secluded 800-acre enclave in southwestern Princeton, NJ, the Institute for Advanced Study is a haven for great thinkers. Its faculty and visiting members are culled from among the best researchers in the world, from disciplines as diverse as history, mathematics, natural sciences, social science, and theoretical biology. Unlike faculty at most universities, scholars at the institute are under no pressure to teach, lecture, participate in public events, or even to publish regularly. Instead, they are charged with exercising their minds in the pursuit of fundamental knowledge. Quiet and private to the extreme, with a majority of faculty and visiting members housed on campus, many long-time residents of Princeton can't even provide visitors with driving directions to the Institute.

Established in 1930 by gifts from the Bamberger family, the Institute, in its early days, faced the challenge of recruiting top-notch faculty. In the early 1930s, with fascism on the rise in Europe, many now-famous scientists, among them Albert Einstein and John von Neumann, were glad to receive, and readily accepted, offers to join the faculty of the Institute. There, in the relative peace and tranquility of the New Jersey countryside, von Neumann developed his theories on computing, and went on to become known as the father of modern computers. Einstein worked, despite public skepticism, on his Unified Field Theory, which is again a top focus of researchers in physics and mathematics. Since then, more than a dozen Nobel Laureates have been Institute faculty or members, and many more have been winners of the Wolf or MacArthur prizes, or the Fields Medal.

Seventy-three years after its founding, the list of faculty and members at the Institute for Advanced Study reads like a Who's-Who of academic super-stardom, and maintaining the quiet, contemplative character of the Institute is a top priority of staff. While the public is allowed to visit the Institute, particularly its 500-acre nature reserve with trails through fields and woodlands, entrance to the school's buildings is by appointment only. Additionally, the Institute hosts a variety of concerts, lectures, seminars, and conferences, which are often open to the public. More information about the Institute for Advanced Study or its scheduled public events, may be obtained from its Web site (http://www.ias.edu).


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