After Hours Conversations 2018-2019

October - November   2018   ;   February - March   2019

After Hours Conversations is a program of informal meetings that are held at Harry's Bar in the upper level of Simons Hall, from 5:00 pm till 7:00 pm, on Mondays and Thursdays, in October and November and again in February and March.

These talks are open to faculty, members, visitors, staff, spouses, and partners in an effort to encourage cross-discipline communication at IAS. Professors Piet Hut, Didier Fassin, Helmut Hofer, and Myles W. Jackson will moderate the sessions.

The format is as follows. At 5:30 pm, someone will give an informal presentation of no more than 10 minutes, intended for a general audience. The topic will be a brief description of a major open  problem in his or her field, together with suggestions for possible future progress with respect to that problem. This talk will be followed by 20 minutes of discussion, until 6:00 pm. During the remaining hour, everyone is free to mingle in more general discussions, preferably with others not from their own School.

If anyone would like to volunteer for giving a talk, please send an email to Piet Hut (, Didier Fassin (, Helmut Hofer (, or Myles W. Jackson (

To receive announcements of upcoming talks by email, contact Dawn Dunbar (

Note that in Harry's Bar all beverages including bottled water must be purchased with an IAS card. If you would like to purchase a drink, it would be best to arrive around 5:15, to allow the line at the bar to be processed before the start of the talk. Thank you for your cooperation.

Here is the list of speakers for the 10-minute presentations:

First Semester

Monday, October 1, 2018
Presentation by: Susan Clark. School of Natural Sciences
Title: The Stuff Between the Stars
Host: Piet Hut

Thursday, October 4, 2018
Presentation by: Piet Hut, Program in Interdisciplinary Studies
Title: On the Origins of the Universe, Life and Awareness
Host: Yve-Alain Bois

Monday, October 8, 2018
Presentation by: Patrick Geary, School of Historical Studies
Title: The Barbarian Invasions, the Migration Crisis, and Pseudo Lessons of History
Host: Myles W. Jackson

Thursday, October 11, 2018
Presentation by: Pia de Jong, Author
Title: America Is Hard to See. Six Years of Reporting from the US
Host: Piet Hut

Monday, October 15, 2018
Presentation by: Clara E. Mattei, School of Social Science
Title:  The Misery of Economism. Experts and Austerity Politics
Host: Didier Fassin

Thursday, October 18, 2018
Presentation by: Freeman Dyson, School of Natural Sciences
Title: Biological and Cultural Evolution.  Six Characters in Search of an 

Host: Piet Hut

Monday, October 22, 2018
Presentation by: Steven Brint, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, University of California, Riverside
Title: Why American Universities Are Stronger Than Ever -- and How to Meet the Challenges They Face
Host: Myles W. Jackson

Thursday, October 25, 2018
Presentation by: Robin Celikates, School of Social Science
Title: Can Digital Disobedience Be Civil?
Host: Didier Fassin

Monday, October 29, 2018
Presentation by: Olaf Witkowski, Program in Interdisciplinary Studies
Title: Swarm AI: How Life Can Evolve Higher Forms of Cognition
Host: Piet Hut

Thursday, November 1, 2018
Presentation by: Ian Jauslin, Princeton University
Title: Stability and Chaos: From Planets to Electrons
Host: Helmut Hofer

Monday, November 5, 2018
Presentation by: Beshara Doumani, School of Social Science
Title: The Black Hole of Middle East Studies
Host: Didier Fassin

Thursday, November 8, 2018
Presentation by: Michael Solomon, Program in Interdisciplinary Studies
Title: When Are You Dead? Changing States
Host: Piet Hut

Monday, November 12, 2018
Presentation by: Scott Tremaine, School of Natural Sciences
Title: The Sky Is Falling...Chicxulub, Chelyabinsk, and the Threat from Killer Asteroids
Host: Piet Hut

Thursday, November 15, 2018
[Due to snow, postponed until February 14, 2019]

Monday, November 19, 2018
Presentation by: Remy van Dobben de Bruyn, School of Mathematics
Title: Mathematics and Music: Observations from a practitioner
Host: Helmut Hofer

Thursday, November 22, 2018
[ No meeting this day; IAS is closed for the Thanksgiving holiday ]

Monday, November 26, 2018
Presentation by: Michael Kazin, School of Social Science
Title: Does Socialism Have a Future in the United States - or Anywhere?
Host: Didier Fassin

Thursday, November 29, 2018
Presentation by: Katherine Epstein, School of Historical Studies
Title: The Hidden History of State Secrets: Computers, Contractors, 
and the Origins of the National-Security State

Host: Patrick Geary

Second Semester

Monday, February 4, 2019
Presentation by: Rodrigo Cordero, School of Social Science
Title: What is a Concept?
Host: Didier Fassin

Thursday, February 7, 2019
Presentation by: Rubina Raja, School of Historical Studies
Title: Quantifying Religion in Ancient Palmyra
Host: Myles W. Jackson

Monday, February 11, 2019
Presentation by: Francesca Trivellato, School of Historical Studies
Title: Do Historians Need to Love the Past?
Host: Myles W. Jackson

Thursday, February 14, 2019
Presentation by: Karla Cosgriff, IAS Staff, Development and Communications
Title: Albert and Alexandra: The Romance of Open Access
Host: Piet Hut

Monday, February 18, 2019
[ no meeting this day; IAS is closed for President's Day]

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Presentation by: Peter Goddard, School of Natural Sciences
Title: Where Did the Institute Come From, and Why Is It Still Here?
Host: Piet Hut

Monday, February 25, 2019
Presentation by: Yuko Ishihara, Program in Interdisciplinary Studies
Title: Methods of Suspending Judgment in European and Japanese Philosophy
Host: Piet Hut

Thursday, February 28, 2019
Presentation by: Ohad Nachtomy, Program in Interdisciplinary Studies
Title: Yoga Practice as a Psychophysical Lab with a Philosophical Analysis of the Mind-Body Problem
Host: Piet Hut

Monday, March 4, 2019
Presentation by: David Bond, School of Social Science
Title: What’s Wrong with the White Working Class?
Host: Didier Fassin

Thursday, March 7, 2019
Presentation by: Akinobu Kuroda, School of Historical Studies
Title: A Doctor Needs Another Doctor: Beyond Aristotle's Framework on Exchange and Money
Host: Myles W. Jackson

Monday, March 11, 2019
Presentation by: Denise Brennan, School of Social Science
Title: Trafficking: Panics, Zombie Statistics, and the Seduction of Rescue
Host: Didier Fassin

Thursday, March 14, 2019
[ No meeting this day ]

Monday, March 18, 2019
Presentation by: Elena Murchikova, School of Natural Sciences
Title: The Monster in the Heart of Our Galaxy. Our Own Galactic Center Black Hole
Host: Piet Hut 

Thursday, March 21, 2019
Presentation by: Alison Locke Perchuk, School of Historical Studies
Title: Seeing Princeton from Afar: Ralph Adams Cram, Collegiate Gothic, and Racism in Early 20th-C. America
Host: Yve-Alain Bois

Monday, March 25, 2019
Presentation by: Paul Bertrand, Professor, Université catholique de Louvain
Title: Fake News in the Medieval and the Digital Age
Host: Patrick Geary

Thursday, March 28, 2019
Presentation by: Nathan Martin, School of Historical Studies
Title: What Is the History of Music Theory?
Host: Myles W. Jackson