News & Events

Invited by the bookstore Albertine in New York to give a talk about Proust and Einstein, Thibault Damour took advantage of the opportunity to present two conferences about the recent detection of gravitational waves organized by Friends of IHES. Specialist of general relativity, he introduced in 2000 (with several collaborators) a new method for describing the motion and gravitational radiation of coalescing binary black holes, which gave the first prediction of the gravitational wave signal observed by LIGO in September 2015. Whether they be students from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York on June 21 or part of the American network of IHES on June 22, participants could appreciate Thibault Damour’ speaker qualities, who managed to share this extraordinary discovery with enthusiasm.

On June 23, he addressed a more literary subject as he talked about the question of time in the work of Proust and Einstein. This new talk delighted scientists and fans of Proust, gathered in the prestigious booksstore of the 5th Avenue.

Watch the filmed conference “Proust and Einstein: In Search of Time” here.

Press Release – 16 November 2015

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­IHÉS confirmed receipt of an unrestricted grant to the upcoming Capital Campaign of €7.5 million. The €7.5 million pledge is the largest gift ever received at the Institute­.­

This pledge of €7.5 Million to IHÉS reflects continued support of the Institute by IHÉS Trustee James H. Simons, who along with his wife Marilyn H. Simons, the Simons Foundation and other related philanthropic organizations are responsible for total contributions in excess of €21 Million: a record of American generosity to a French nonprofit. These extremely generous donations will reinforce the recent endowment – less than two decades old – the Institute has strived to build as Fundamental Research has witnessed growing constraints on financing.

“The Institute is deeply grateful for these extraordinary gifts”, said Emmanuel Ullmo, Director of the Institute. “James and Marilyn and the foundations’ exceptional commitments have funded major aspects of the Institute’s scientific life, including the building of the Marilyn and James Simons Conference Center in 2001 and the launch of the Simons Funds in Biology in 2007. Their support was essential in successfully achieving two capital campaigns in the past.” To honor this generosity, the Institute will permanently name a professorship the “Simons Professor in Mathematics”.

This commitment arrives after IHÉS successfully finalized a Matching Challenge of €5 Million made by the Simons Foundation a year ahead of the initial target. “In recent years, the Simons’ support was decisive to create the endowment. These generous gifts hold the key to moving towards the goal of obtaining financial independence. It is also an extraordinary vote of confidence in IHÉS’ capacity of remaining a reference point for the scientific community,” said Marwan Lahoud, Chairman of IHÉS’ Board of Trustees. “At a moment when IHÉS is preparing a new Capital Campaign, this is very encouraging.”

This latest gift initiates a campaign that will ensure that IHÉS will be able to fulfill its mission in the future, sustaining a unique environment to attract and support world-class researchers. “IHÉS is dedicated to the discovery of human understanding at its deepest level, playing a key part in the worldwide chain of knowledge. Marilyn and I have been proudly supporting the Institute for the last 15 years and we wanted to participate to the next step towards the Institute’s financial independence,” James H. Simons said. “The amount of the gifts are large, but so are the IHÉS’ needs and ambitions.”

The fourth Friends of IHES gala dinner took place last November 4th, 2015 at the Pierre Hotel in New York and the theme was “Math and Games of Chance”.




Gérard Araud
Ambassador of France to the United States

François Delattre
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

Bertrand Lortholary
Consul General of France in New York


Ingrid Daubechies
James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics, Duke University

Richard Garriott de Cayeux

Computer game developer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist

To see more information go to the dedicated webpage.