The Physics of Time and Space (20 March 2012)

“Recent discoveries in physics, from Verlinde’s new theory of gravity to neutrinos that may move faster than light, show that the end of space and time is far from over.”

Robbert Dijkgraaf is Distinguished University Professor of mathematical physics at the University of Amsterdam, a position he has held since 2005. His current focus is on string theory, quantum gravity, and the interface between mathematics and particle physics. His research was recognised in 2003 with the award of the NWO Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific award in the Netherlands. Robbert Dijkgraaf has been a visiting professor at many universities including Harvard, MIT, Berkeley and Kyoto. He is on the editorial boards of numerous scientific periodicals and on the scientific advisory board of institutes in Cambridge, Bonn, Stanford, Dublin and Paris.

Robbert Dijkgraaf

Professor Dijkgraaf is dedicated to bringing about greater public awareness of science, for example through his involvement with popular TV science programmes. He also initiated (and finances) proefjes.nl, a website that allows children (aged 8 and up) to carry out simple experiments. Since 2008 he has been President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Robbert studied physics and mathematics at Utrecht University. After an interlude studying painting at Amsterdam’s Gerrit Rietveld Academy, he gained his PhD cum laude in Utrecht in 1989. His supervisor was the Nobel Prize-winner Gerard ‘t Hooft. Professor Dijkgraaf subsequently held positions at Princeton University and at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study.