Biography

Robbert Dijkgraaf (born 1960) has been a "Distinguished University Professor" at the University of Amsterdam since 2005, where he has held the chair of mathematical physics since 1992. Prof. Dijkgraaf 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. Prof. Dijkgraaf subsequently held positions at Princeton University and at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study.

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 guest professor at universities including Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, and Kyoto. He is on the editorial boards of numerous scientific periodicals, and is also the scientific adviser to institutes in Cambridge, Bonn, Stanford, Dublin, and Paris.

Many of his activities are at the interface between science and society. His column in the NRC Handelsblad newspaper is intended for a broad public and deals with science, the arts, and other matters. Many of his articles are available in Blikwisselingen (published by Uitgeverij Bert Bakker, 2008). Prof. Dijkgraaf is dedicated to bringing about greater public awareness of science, for example through his involvement with a popular TV science programme. He also initiated (and finances) proefjes.nl, a website that allows children (aged 8 and up) to carry out simple experiments.

Robbert Dijkgraaf served four years as President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1 May 2008 - 1 June 2012.

He currently serves as Netherlands' Minister of Education, Culture and Science.