Home Departmental News Associate Professor Christo Sims becomes a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS)

Associate Professor Christo Sims becomes a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS)

Associate Professor Christo Sims was recently awarded a prestigious fellowship to join the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) with The School of Social Science as one of 25 visiting researchers or “Members” this fall. 

The Institute for Advanced Study, founded in 1930, invites their Members to freely determine their academic trajectory in an effort to promote academic freedom worldwide in the areas of mathematics, natural science, historical studies, and social science. The IAS famously collaborates with Princeton University, Rutgers University, as well as other nearby institutions. Previous Members include Nobel Laureates, Fields Medalists, Abel Prize Laureates, MacArthur Fellows and Wolf Prize winners. Professor Sims will join the likes of Albert Einstein, Kurt Gödel, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Erwin Panofsky, Hetty Goldman, Homer A. Thompson, John von Neumann, George Kennan, Hermann Weyl, and Clifford Geertz as a Member of the IAS. 

The Institute is pledged to assemble a group of scientists and scholars who with their pupils and assistants may devote themselves to the task of pushing beyond the present limits of human knowledge and to training those who may “carry on” in this sense.
––Mission statement of the Institute for Advanced Study by founding Director Abraham Flexner, Organization Meeting, October 10, 1930
Image Description: a sepia toned distressed photo showing left to right: Albert Einstein, Abraham FlexnerJohn R. Hardin, and Herbert Maass at the IAS on May 22, 1939.

Professor Sims will be working alongside The School of Social Science’s two permanent faculty,  Alondra Nelson and Didier Fassin as well as participating in a weekly seminar with the other visiting researchers and the permanent faculty in the School of Social Science. The theme for next year’s seminar is “Science and the State.” 

During his tenure at the IAS, Professor Sims will be working on his current book project provisionally titled The Garden in the Machine: Architectural Politics in an Age of Climate Catastrophe. The project examines how corporations, cities, and states are materially re-configuring themselves in response to climate change. Using Silicon Valley as a case study, the project focuses on how large technology companies are turning to avant-garde ‘sustainable’ architecture as they endeavor to design workplaces for the future. Professor Sims is currently in the data gathering phase of his project and plans to spend his time at IAS analyzing his documentation and writing his book manuscript.

Norman Foster sketch of the design process for the new Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA. Author photo of Foster’s sketchbook, Norman Foster Foundation and Archives, Madrid Spain. Photo shows an open journal with unlined pages and a design drawn in black ink depicting a diagram of a room with images on walls, a model on the floor, and skylights above with captions and notes throughout the image.

Professor Sims currently an affiliated faculty member in Science Studies, Ethnic Studies, and the Design Lab here at the University of California, San Diego. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate Communication courses on “situated practices” (core theory classes required of all undergraduate majors and PhD students), intermediate and advanced undergraduate studio courses on critical design (developed with fellow UC San Diego Communication faculty member Associate Professor Lilly Irani), an undergraduate course on media technologies and social movements, an undergraduate seminar that uses speculative design to explore futures for public universities, and graduate practicums on intellectual craftwork and ethnographic practice. You can read more about Professor Sims’ work and accomplishments at his website here: https://quote.ucsd.edu/sims/.

Congratulations, Professor Sims, on this remarkable achievement!

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