Gerard ’t Hooft: international top researcher and lecturer
Nobel Prize winner Gerard 't Hooft (b.1946) has been affiliated with Utrecht University from his earliest days as a student. He studied Physics at Utrecht University and then studied and worked at the Institute for Theoretical Physics from 1969 until present day. He began as a PhD student and later worked as Professor of Theoretical Physics.
He is Academy Professor of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
(KNAW) and Distinguished Professor
of Utrecht University.
Gerard 't Hooft and Martinus Veltman have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1999 for providing a consistent characterisation of elementary particles as occurring in the standard model. The study is based on ‘t Hooft’s doctoral degree research. Martinus Veltman (b.1931) had been his supervisor and was affiliated with the Institute for Theoretical Physics until the early 1980's. Veltman subsequently worked at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) as John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics until being accorded emeritus status.
A passion for knowledge transfer
Gerard 't Hooft is still actively involved as a top international researcher as well as lecturer for the Physics & Astronomy undergraduate programme and the Theoretical Physics graduate programme. He travels all over the world to give lectures to fellow scientists and to try and make physics more attractive to a wider public. In the Netherlands he often gives talks at secondary schools and participates in public debates, while appearing in scientific programmes on radio and television too. Other activities include the chief editorship of the Foundations of Physics journal.
Foundations of Natural Science research focus area
Gerard 't Hooft’s research, as well as the studies by his colleagues at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, is carried out under the umbrella of the Dutch Research School of Theoretical Physics (DRSTP). This research school is recognised by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and harbours virtually all theoretical physics research groups and institutes in the Netherlands. Utrecht University is coordinator of DRSTP. All theoretical physics research as well as all mathematics and astrophysics research at Utrecht University has been brought together in the Foundations of Natural Science research focus area.
Gerard 't Hooft’s research topics are very diverse and vary from research into black holes, quantum gravitation and gauging theories to the fundamentals of quantum mechanics. His research leads annually to a number of publications in renowned scientific journals. Well-known publications aimed at a wider public include his books: "De bouwstenen van de schepping; een zoektocht naar het allerkleinste" (The elements of Creation, a quest for the smallest particle), and "Planetenbiljart: Sciencefiction en echte natuurkunde" (Planet billiards: science-fiction and real physics. Gerard ’t Hooft has been rewarded and recognised for his contribution to science not only by the Nobel Prize, but also with many other distinctions and honorary degrees.
Interaction with students
Gerard ’t Hooft is still affiliated with Utrecht University. He continues to attend lectures for and by graduate students and post-docs because he, in his own words, ‘cannot live without the stimulating interaction with young people’.