Gerardus 't Hooft
Gerard 't Hooft studied mathematics and physics in Utrecht and he was awarded his PhD on 1 March 1972, with a thesis that made him famous even then. In 1977 he became a professor and to this day he works at the Institute of Theoretical Physics at Utrecht University.
Gerard 't Hooft’s doctoral research was superised by Martinus Veltman, and they were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1999. The whole university, students and staff, celebrated the occasion with cake and festivities. Gerard 't Hooft is still surprised at everything that being a Nobel Prize winner brings with it: he receives many invitations for lectures, interviews, television performances and receptions. As he says, 'It’s easy to turn being a Nobel Prize winner into a profession'.
’t Hooft and Veltman received the Nobel Prize for their work on the weak force, one of the four basic forces of nature, the others being gravity, the electromagnetic force and the strong force. 't Hooft is now searching for the key to an all-inclusive theory combining the four forces. According to 't Hooft the answer lies not in 'string theory' but in 'black holes' which do not only exist in the universe but also at the level of elementary particles.
Will particle physics be completed if this 'theory of everything' is found? No, thinks 't Hooft, but it will allow us to calculate things that are currently still far beyond our reach.