Prof. dr. Gerard 't Hooft

Gerard 't Hooft
Gerardus 't Hooft

Gerard ’t Hooft: international top researcher and lecturer

Gerard 't Hooft, foto: Milko Vernooij 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, before going on to study at and then work for the Institute for Theoretical Physics, from 1969 until the present day, first as a PhD student and later as a Professor of Theoretical Physics.

He is an Academy Professor of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and a Distinguished Professor of Utrecht University.

Nobel Prize

Gerard 't Hooft and Martinus Veltman were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1999 for their discovery of a consistent description of elementary particles as they occur in the standard model. This was based on the research ‘t Hooft carried out for his doctoral degree. Martinus Veltman (b.1931) was his supervisor and was affiliated with the Institute for Theoretical Physics until the early 1980s. Veltman subsequently worked at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) as John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics until becoming emeritus.

A passion for knowledge transfer

Gerard 't Hooft is still actively involved in top international research, as well as lecturing in the undergraduate programmes in Physics & Astronomy and the graduate programme in Theoretical Physics. He travels around the globe to give lectures to fellow scientists and to make physics more attractive to a wider public. In the Netherlands he often participates in public debates and gives talks at secondary schools, as well as appearing in scientific programmes on the radio and television. Other activities include the chief editorship of the journal Foundations of Physics.

Foundations of Natural Science research focus area

Gerard 't Hooft’s research activities, as well as those of his colleagues at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, are carried out within the framework 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 the theoretical physics research groups and institutes in the Netherlands. Utrecht University is the coordinating member of DRSTP. At Utrecht University all theoretical physics research as well as all research in the fields of mathematics and astrophysics has been brought together in the research focus area Foundations of Natural Science.


Gerard 't Hooft’s research covers a diverse range of topics, varying from black holes, quantum gravitation and gauging theories to the fundamentals of quantum mechanics. Every year this research results in a number of publications in renowned scientific journals. He has also written a number of books aimed at a general readership, including De bouwstenen van de schepping; een zoektocht naar het allerkleinste (‘The elements of Creation, a quest for the smallest particle’) and Playing with Planets. Apart from the Nobel Prize, Gerard ’t Hooft has received many other distinctions and awards in recognition of his contributions to science.

Interaction with students

Gerard ’t Hooft is still affiliated with Utrecht University. And the reason why you will often find him attending lectures and presentations by graduate students and post-docs is because, as he admits himself, he ‘cannot do without the stimulating interaction with young people’.