Robbert Dijkgraaf, 2014
|Born||Robertus Henricus Dijkgraaf
24 January 1960
|Institutions||Institute for Advanced Study
University of Amsterdam
|Alma mater||Utrecht University|
|Doctoral advisor||Gerard 't Hooft|
|Known for||String theory|
|Notable awards||Spinoza Prize (2003)|
Robertus Henricus "Robbert" Dijkgraaf (Dutch pronunciation: [roːˈbɛrtʏs ɦɛnˈrikʏs ˈrɔbərt ˈdɛikɣraːf] ( listen); born 24 January 1960) is a Dutch mathematical physicist and string theorist. He is tenured professor at the University of Amsterdam, and director and Leon Levy professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
Dijkgraaf went to Erasmiaans Gymnasium in Rotterdam, Netherlands. He started his education in physics at Utrecht University in 1978. After completing his Bachelor's degree equivalent in 1982 he briefly turned away from physics to pursue painting at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. In 1984, he returned to Utrecht University, to start on his master's degree in theoretical physics. After obtaining his MSc degree, he continued working towards his PhD under supervision of Nobel laureate Gerard 't Hooft. He studied together with the twins Erik and Herman Verlinde. The original arrangement was that only one of the trio would work on string theory, but all three ended up writing their thesis on this subject. Dijkgraaf obtained his doctorate in 1989 cum laude. His thesis was titled A Geometrical Approach to Two Dimensional Conformal Field Theory. Subsequently, Dijkgraaf held positions at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study. In 1992, he was appointed professor at the University of Amsterdam, where he held the chair of mathematical physics until 2004, when he was appointed distinguished professor at the same university.
In the Netherlands, Dijkgraaf is a promoter of hard sciences. He appears on Dutch national television and has a (monthly) column in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. From 2008 to 2012 he was president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was elected as one of the two co-chairs of the InterAcademy Council for the period 2009-2013.
Starting 1 July 2012 Dijkgraaf became the director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. On that date he stepped down from his position as president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Awards and honors
In 2003, Dijkgraaf was awarded the Spinoza Prize. In doing so he became the first recipient of the award whose advisor also was a recipient ('t Hooft received the first Spinoza Prize in 1995). He used part of his Spinoza Prize grant to set up a website targeted at children and promoting science: Proefjes.nl.
Dijkgraaf's research focuses on string theory and the interface of mathematics and physics in general. He is best known for his work on topological string theory and matrix models, and his name has been given to the Dijkgraaf-Witten invariants and the Witten-Dijkgraaf-Verlinde-Verlinde formula.
- "Robbert Dijkgraaf long biography". Robbert Dijkgraaf. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
- Dijkgraaf, Robertus Hendricus. "A geometrical approach to two-dimensional Conformal Field Theory". dspace.library.uu.nl. University of Utrecht.
- "Robbert Dijkgraaf". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- 'Robbert Dijkgraaf geëerd met lintje – kritiseert onderzoekspraktijk Nederland', NRC.nl 5 juni 2012, geraadpleegd op 5 juni 2012.'Robbert Dijkgraaf geridderd', NU.nl 5 juni 2012, geraadpleegd op 5 juni 2012.
- List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2012-11-10.
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