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A Day at the Institute for Advanced Study

Katie Drummond, The Verge:

In a rare opportunity, I’ve been invited to spend the day at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), an isolated, 800-acre compound in Princeton, NJ, that has for 83 years called itself home to many of the world’s most brilliant scientists: Albert Einstein, Alan Turing and Kurt Godel, among dozens of other notable scholars, all worked on some of their most seminal research at IAS.

In one of my favorite passages, Drummond interviews particle physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed and asks about the philosophy and expectations at IAS:

“There is a purity of principle to what we do here,” he says. “The Institute understands that progress often comes in increments, and you need a lot of time, a lot of failure, and a lot of work to answer these big, fundamental questions. Patience for that is more and more rare in our society.”

This is the absolute antithesis of the idiotic desire from politicians to only fund commercially-viable science. Perfect.


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