Robbert Dijkgraaf on Why Today’s Science Will Be Remembered as Revolutionary

The director of the Institute for Advanced Study discusses how artistic talent and synesthesia informed his approach to physics research and why progress depends on bridging the communications gap with non-scientists.

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Robbert Dijkgraaf is director and Leon Levy Professor of the Institute for Advanced Study, one of the world’s leading centers for curiosity-driven research in the sciences and humanities.

Dijkgraaf is a mathematical physicist who has made important contributions to string theory and the advancement of science education. In addition to discovering deep connections between matrix models, topological string theory and supersymmetric quantum field theory, Dijkgraaf has developed precise formulas for the counting of bound states that explain the entropy of certain black holes.

Past president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-chair (since 2009) of the InterAcademy Council, Dijkgraaf is a distinguished public policy adviser and passionate advocate for science and the arts. Many of his activities — which have included frequent appearances on Dutch television, a monthly newspaper column and the launch of the science education website — are at the interface between science and society.